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English translation 
of the meanings 
and Commentary 

The Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques King: Fahd Jbn Abdul An/ Al- Sand. 
King Of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Has The Honour J o Order l lie V riming 
Of This Holy Qur-An And The Translation Of lis Meanings And Commeniary, 

Mushaf Al-Madinah 


English translation 
of the meanings 
and Commentary 

Revised & Edited By 


King Fahd HolyQur-an 
Printing Complex. 


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- ii - 



Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. Who has said 
in His Noble Boole: 

There has come to you from Allah 
Light and a Perspicuous Book. H) 

And may peace and blessings be upon the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad, 
who has said that: 

Tile best among you is he who learned 
the Qur-an and then taught it. (2) 

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family and all his 

The Glorious Qur-an is the Book of Allah, the Wise and Worthy of all 
Praise, Who has promised to safeguard it from any violations in its purity. It 
becomes incumbent upon each and every person who seeks the dignity of this 
world and the bliss of the Hereafter to regulate his life according to it, to 
implement its commandments and to pay homage to the magnificence of the 
One Who revealed it. This can be an easy task for those favoured with guidance 
from Allah, especially those blessed by an understanding of Arabic, the 
language of the divine communication. But for those not acquainted with 
Arabic, their ignorance is a barrier between them and this source of guidance 
and illumination. A translation of the message of Allah is thus a task not to 
be taken tightly or performed superficially. 

Before the reader begins to study the Qur-an, he must realise that unlike 
all other writings, this is a unique book with a supreme author, an eternal 
message and a universal relevance. Its contents are not confined to a particular 
theme or style, but contain the foundations for an entire system of life, covering 
a whole spectrum of issues, which range from specific articles of faith and 
commandments to general moral teachings, rights and obligations, crime and 
punishment, personal and public law, and a host of other private and social 
concerns. These issues are discussed in a variety of ways, such as direct 
stipulations, reminders of Allah’s favours on His creation, admonitions and 
rebukes. Stories of past communities are narrated, followed by the lessons to 
be learned from their actions and subsequent fates. 

The Qur-an enjoys a number of characteristics unique to it alone, some of 
which are as follows: 

(1) Surat Al-Maida: 15. (2) Narrated by the six ones except Muslim. 

- in * 


1. It is the actual Word of Allah; not created but revealed for the benefit of 
all mankind. 

Blessed is He Who sent down the Criterion 
To His servant, that it may be 
An admonition to all creatures. (3) 

2. It is complete and comprehensive. The Almighty says: 

Nothing have We omitted from the Book. (4) 

In another place we read, 

And We have sent down to thee 
The Book explaining all things. (5) 

3. It is a theoretical and a practical Book, not only moralising but also defining 
specifically the permissible and the forbidden. The importance of 
understanding the message of the Qur-an is undeniable, but simply reciting 
it with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure and reward is also an act 
of worship and meritorious in itself. Allah Almighty says: 

So take what the Prophet gives you 
And refrain from what he prohibits you. (6) 

4. Allah has perfected His religion for all mankind with the revelation of this 
Book, He says: 

This day have I perfected your religion for you. 

Completed my favour upon you and have chosen 
For you Islam as your religion, (7) 

5. It is Allah's eternal miracle revealed to the Prophet Muhammad for all 
succeeding generations. In response to those who doubt the authorship of the 
Gur-an, Allah Almighty has challenged the most articulate Arabs to produce 
a whole book, ten chapters or even one solitary chapter which can be 
remotely comparable to the Qur-an. But to this day, no one has succeeded 
in meeting the challenge of the Almighty, The critics of the Qur-an have 
been struck dumb by its ineffable eloquence and surpassing beauty. 

Say, if the whole of mankind and jinns 
Were to gather together to produce the 
Like of this Qur-an, they could not 
Produce the like thereof; even if they 
Backed up each other with help and support. (R) 

The Almighty also says: 

Or they may say: he forged it. 

Say: Bring ye then ten chapters 
Forged, like unto it and call 

(3) Surat Al-Furqan: J 

(4) Surat A1-An l am; 38. 

(5) Surat An-Nahl: 89. 

(6) Surat Al-Hashr: 7. 

(7) Surat Al-Maida: 3. 

(8) Surat Al-lsraa: 88, 

— — 

- tv - 

(To your aid) whomsoever ye can 
Other than Allah , if ye speak 
The truth. (9) 

And again: 

Or do they say: he forged it? 

Say: Bring then a chapter like 
Unto it and call (to your aid) 

Anyone ye can besides Allah, 

If it be ye speak the truth. (10) 

6. It has been revealed to re-establish the sincere worship of Allah alone, 
without association of any partners with Him. 

This is a Book with verses basic or 
Fundamental (of established meaning), 

Further explained in detait,- 

From One who is Wise and Well-Aware. 

(It teaches) that you should worship 
None but Allah. (11) 

And they have been commanded no more 
Than this: to worship Allah, 

Offering Him sincere devotion, being true 
In faith, to establish regular prayer 
And to give Zakat, and that is 
The religion Right and Straight. (12) 

7. It contains a complete code which provides for all areas of life, whether 
spiritual, intellectual, political, social or economic. It is a code which has no 
boundaries of time, place or nation. 

Verily this Qur-an doth guide 
To that which is most right. (13) 

8. Allah Almighty has taken upon Himself the duty of preserving the Qur-an 
for ever in its entirety, as He says: 

We have without doubt sent down 
The Message, and We will assuredly 
Guard it (from corruption). (14) 

So well has it been preserved, both in memory and in writing, that the 
Arabic text w r c have today is identical to the text as it was revealed to the 
Prophet. Not even a single letter has yielded to corruption during the passage 
of the centuries. And so it will remain for ever, by the consent of Allah, 

Given the depth as well as the sublimity of the Qur-anic text, a faithful 

(9) Surat Hud: 13. 
(JO) Surat Yunus: 38. 

(H) Surat Hud: t-2. 

(12) Surat Al-Bayyina: 5. 

(13) Surat Al-Israa: 9. 

(14) Surat Al-Hijr: 9. 

- v - 

translation of it into another language is virtually impossible. The various 
translations that exist today, however accurate they may be, cannot be 
designated as the Qur-an, since they can never hope to imitate the diction or 
the style of the Book of Allah, But as translation is one of the few ways to 
export the message of the Qur-an to allow those lacking in knowledge of Arabic 
to share this priceless gift, it becomes a duty for those in a position to fulfil 
this task. 

A number of individuals have in the past ventured to translate the Qur-an, 
but their works have generally been private attempts, greatly influenced by their 
own prejudices. In order to produce a reliable translation free from personal 
bias, a Royal decree {No. 19888, dated 16/8/1400 AH) was issued by the 
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz, at that time 
the deputy prime minister , authorising the General Presidency of the 
Departments of Islamic Researches, !fta, Call and Guidance to undertake 
the responsibility of revising and correcting a particular translation which 
would be selected for this purpose and made publicly available later. 

To accomplish this enormous task, a number of committees were 
formed, comprising scholars well- qualified both in Islamic Sharj’a and the 
English language. Some of these scholars were associated with the General 
Presidency of the Departments of Islamic Researches, Ifta,Call and Guidance. 

The first committee was given the task of examining the existing 
translations and choosing the most suitable one from among them. The 
committee discovered that there was no translation free from defects and so 
there were two options open for consideration: the first was to select the best 
translation available and then adopt it as a base for further work as well as 
a source of reference, with the objective of revising its contents and correcting 
any faults in view of the objections raised against it; the second was to 
prepare a fresh and independent translation, starting from scratch. 

It became obvious from studying these translations that the second option 
demanded much time and effort, neither of which were available at the lime. 

The first option was therefore considered to be more practical, since it met the 
existing urgent requirements and helped to achieve the desired goal in a 
comparatively short period of time, The translation by the late Ustadh 
ABDULLAH YUSUF A LI was consequently chosen for its distinguishing 
characteristics, such as a highly elegant style, a choice of words close to the 
meaning of the original text, accompanied by scholarly notes and commentaries. 

The committee began revising and correcting this translation with the aid 
of other translations available, by comparing and then adopting best expressions 
as well as by introducing fresh expressions where necessary. The committee was 
fully aware of all the criticisms that had been directed against this translation 
and which had been carefully brought to the notice of the presidency by a num- 

- vi - 

ber oT academic bodies and other involved parties. In the second stage, the 
entire work of this committee was referred to a number of individuals and orga- 
nisations who then augmented any deficiencies in the work of the committee. 

A third committee was set up to collate all their suggestions. It then 
compared all such views regarding specific issues, selected the appropriate 
one (s) and arrived at a text as authentic and defect-free as was humanly 

Finally, a fourth committee was formed to look into the findings of the 
second and third committees and to implement the recommendations made by 
them. Furthermore, this committee had to finalise the text by adopting the most 
accurate expression where needed, besides checking the notes vigilantly so as 
to clear any misconceptions regarding the articles of faith, varying juristic 
opinions and thoughts not in conformity with the sound Islamic point of view. 

In the course of its work, the committee came across some Arabic words 
which could not be translated correctly, such as Zakat and Tagut, It was 
therefore decided to give a transliteration of these words in English with a brief 
explanatory note for each one at its first occurrence in the text. The reader will 
find a list of such words at the end of this preface, as well as a list containing 
an English transliteration of Arabic letters. A list of the abbreviations used in 
this work is also provided. Finally, the reader will find at the end of the text 
a comprehensive list containing references to proper names of people, places 
and important topics, dealt with either in the text or in the accompanying notes. 

According to the Royal decree (No. 12412, dated 27/10/1405 AH), this trans- 
lation is printed at King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex in Al-Madinah 
Al - Munawarah and also with coordination of the General Presidency of the 
Departments of Islamic Researches, Ifta Call and Guidance, 

To implement the directions of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (May 
Allah preserve him) concerning the Propagation of the Book of Allah, its 
distribution and translation into every language spoken by Muslims the 
worldwide, and due to the cooperation between the General Secretariat of 
King Fahd Holy Qur-an Priming Complex and the Presidency of Islamic 
Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance regarding a faithful, specific and 
scholarly translation of the meanings of the Holy Qur-an, we are pleased to 
present to ail Muslims and those seeking spiritual light among English - 
speaking people this translation which comes as one of the Series of the 
translations of the meanings of the Holy Qur-an into various languages printed 
by the Complex in Al-Madinah At -Munawarah . 

May Allah reward bounteously those who were behind this blessed work. 


- vii * 

A comprehensive lisi of names, places and topics appears as an index at 
the end of the book. Here some oft-repeated Arabic words occuring in ihe 
translation are given with brief explanation, 

ALLAH: The proper name of God in Arabic. 

HAJJ: The pilgrimage to Makkah which takes place in the last month 

of the Islamic calendar. 

IB LIS: Satan. 

ISLAM: Literally, to submit. 

The Religion of all the Prophets of Allah confirmed finally hy 
the mission of the Prophet Muhammad 

I INN: Invisible beings constituting a whole race like mankind. 

MUHAJIR: Literally, the emigrant. 

One who leaves the home town to join a Muslim community. 

MUSLIM: One who professes the faith of Islam or born to a Muslim 


QIRLA: The Ka'ba. The direction for the daily prayers of a Muslim. 

QUR-AN: Literally, the recital. 

The final revelation given to the Prophet Muhammad 
in Arabic. 

RAMADHAN: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which the 
Muslims fast, 

SURAH: A chapter of the Our-an. 

TAGUT: Literally, a tyrant, oppresses false god, tempter to error. 

Tagut is applied to any object which is worshipped besides 

UMRAH: A minor form of pilgrimage to Makkah. 

UMMAH: Literally, a nation but is usually applied to the Muslim 

Brother- hood. 

YATHRIB: The name by which Madina h was known before the Prophet's 

migration to that city, 

ZAKAT: Literally, to grow, to purify. 

The third pillar of Islam. 

It is a definite portion of wealth which is given to needy at 
the turn of the year. 

* viij - 


The following table shows the system which 
transliterating the letters of the Arabic alphabet: 

I have followed in 

\ [consonantal 1 
t \ sound 
Long vowel * 





. t 




. d 

Short vowels: 








a 6 

- (fotha) 

T (kasra ) 

- ( dhamma) 









. i 




(inverted apostrophe) 









long vowel* 














long vowel 






1. For the hamid { *■ ) I have used no distinctive sign. An apostrophe for 
it and an inverted apostrophe for the 'ain (tL), or vice versa, is confusing to 
English readers. As a moved consonant, it is sufficiently shown in English by 
the long or short vowel which moves it, e*g. t ah, Rail/. Where it is a hiatus 
preceded by a fat ha, l have shown it by a second a: thus, Iqraa , the cave of 
Hiraa. In other cases it has not been possible to show it without using a 
distinctive sign. The name of the Holy Book is usually written Qur-an; but l 
prefer to write Qur-an. However a few' words like juz have an apostrophe 
indicating Hamza. 

2. The final h preceded by the short a is scarcely pronounced, and I have 
left it out. Hence Sura, Fatiha, Hijra, etc., where the Arabic spelling would 
require Surah, Fatihah, Ilijrah, etc. 

3. In internationalised words and names 1 have used the spelling ordinarily 
current in English; e.g., Maulvi, Urdu, Islam, Israel, Abraham, Jacob, Here the 
boundary is thin and rather ill-defined, and possibly my practice and that of my 
proof-readers have not been absolutely uniform. But in place of Mecca and 
Medina, l he more accurate form of Makkah and Madinah is adopted. 

* Where it is really pronounced long. Hence, Khntaqnd-kum but Khalqqiuit-insan; 
Abu Sufydii but Ahul-Qdsim; fin-nnr but fi-hi. 

4. Some names, e.g., Ishmael, Hagan etc,, have acquired a contemptuous 
association in their European forms, while the persons they represent are sacred 
personages held in great honour in Islam, I have, therefore, avoided the 
European forms and used the Arabic forms, Isma'il, II ajar, etc. 


Ay at (verse). 

Anno Domini = year of the Christian Calendar. 

Anno Hegirae = year of the Hijra. 



date of death of an author {to show the age in which he lived) 
The Book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament. 
Encyclopaedia Britannic a, 14th edition. 

Exempli gratia = for example. 

The Book of Exodus, Old Testament, 

The Book of Genesis, Old Testament, 
year of the Hijra 

Hafiz Gulfim Sarwar T s Translation of the Qur-iin. 
id cst = that is. 

Book of Joshua, Old Testament. 

Gospel of St. Matthew. New Testament. 

Maulvi Muhammad ‘All's Translation of the Qur-an 
Mr. M. Pick t hall's The Meaning of the Glorious Koran. 

The Book of Numbers. Old Testament. 




Qur-an, Sural 2th verse 25. 

Revelation of St. John, New Testament. 




videlicet ~ namely. 

- X * 



Arabic words explained 
Transliteration of Arabic words 
Abbreviations used 

Text and Notes 

Surat 2: Al-Baqarah. 

1'4 ri 2. 

S ysJt 

Introduction and Summary 

The Message and the Men 

Text and Notes, 2T-29 

Man's Nature and Destiny 

Text and Notes, 2:30*39 

The Children of Israel: 

Their privileges and huekslidings 

Text and Notes, 2:40-86 

People of the Book: 

Their jealousy and narrow- 

Text and Notes, 2:87-121 

Abraham and Isma'il built the Ka T ba 
and founded Islam 

Text and Notes, 2:122- 141 

Creation of a new people, with Qihla 
towards Makkah 

Text and Notes, 2:142*167 

Laws for this new people, about food, 
blood-money, bequests, fasting, 
jihad, pilgrimage, zakat, drink 
and gambling, orphans, marriage, 
divorce and widowhood 

Fighting in defence of Truth and Right: 
Story of David and Goliath 

Text and Notes, 2:243*253 









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Pan 3 Names of Allah : the “Verse of the 
Throne" : No compulsion in reli- 
gion : Upright conduct : Abraham : 
Zakat ; Usury ; Contracts : Wit* 

Text and Notes, 2:254-283 

AM life as in presence of Allah : No 
burden greater than we can bear: 
Prayer to Allah 

Text and Notes, 2:284-286 

Appendix I : On the Abbreviated Letters 
Surat 3: Al-i-' Imran. Jl 

Introduction and Summary 

Confirmation of previous Revelations: 
Acceptance of Faith 

Text and Notes, 3:1-20 

Partial Truths, and the Completed 
Book of Allah : Friendship with 
one's own people 

Text and Notes, 3:21-30 

Prophets form one Brotherhood : Birth 
of Mary, Yahya and Jesus 

Text and Notes, 3:31-63 

Seek common principles, avoid dissem- 
bling and disputing : True Religion 
/ Text and Notes, 3:64-91 
\ Text and Notes, 3:92420 

Allah's help will come to those who 
strive, as at Badr : We must learn 
from our misfortunes, as at Uhud 

Text and Notes, 3:121-148 

Dangers of indiscipline, disputes, loss of 
courage, or pursuit of selfish ends : 
Glorious are the Martyrs without 

Text and Notes, 3:149480 












t a 

V vV j 


Sural : 4 

hm 5, 

Surat 3: Al-i-tmr&n— (Contd.). 

Vain are the taunts of Unbelief : Allah's 
promise is sure : Trust in Him 

Text and Notes, 3:181-200 197-203 

An-Nisaa aj 

Introduction and Summary 204 

Unity and mankind ; Sacredness of sex 
and family relationships; Women 
and orphans; Distribution of 
property after death 

Text and Notes, 4:1-14 205-212 

Crimes against sex to be rooted out : 

Marriage and women’s rights : Live 
in faith, charity, and kindness 

/ Text and Notes, 4:15-23 ™ 212-215 

\ Text and Notes, 4:24-42 215-223 

Cleanliness, purity, truth, obedience, and 
other virtues lead to a glorious 

Text and Notes, 4:43-70 223-232 

Rights and duties of Brotherhood : fear 
nothing, maintain the right, and 
guard against Hypocrites and 

Text and Notes, 4:71-91 232-242 

Sacredness of life : migrate from places 
hostile to Islam : precautions in 
prayer in lime of danger 

Text and Notes, 4:92-104 ... 242-249 

Treachery and secrecy to he avoided : 
firmness and faith to be encouraged 
Text and Notes, 4; 105- 126 249-255 

Justice to women and orphans and to 
all : be true and considerate 

/ Text and Notes, 4:127-147 255-263 

\ Text and Notes, 4:148-152 264-265 

Where the People of the Book went 
wrong : Revelation continued in the 




- c - 

- d - 

Sural 6: 

Part k 


At-Andm t ^UjVl *j PAGES 

Introduction and Summary „ „ 336 

Allah reigns in heaven and on earth ;the re 
is a Hereafter 

Text and Notes, 6:1-30 „ 337-345 

Life of this world is empty; what is 
serious is the Hereafter; Allah holds 
the keys of the Unseen 

Text and Notes, 6:31-60 345-355 

Allah’s loving care encompasses us; it is 
His protection we should seek, and 
not that of any one else 

Text and Notes, 6:61-82 355-363 

Revelation in all ages; Qur-an a blessing 
and confirmation; Signs of Allah 
in the daily pageants of Nature 

Text and Notes, 6:83-110 363-375 

Rebels against Allah are deceived and 
deceive each other ; let us trust in 

Text and Notes, 6:111-129 375-381 

Degrees in good and evil deeds : avoid 
superstition and excess 

Text and Notes, 6:130-150 381-389 

Allah’s commands are not irrational 
taboos, but based on moral law 

Text and Notes, 6:151-165 _ _ 389-395 

Surat 7: At-A'raf. 

Introduction and Summary 395 

Revelation should ease difficulties of 
heart and mind : arrogance and 
excess at the root of evil 

Text and Notes, 7:1-31 397-405 

Allah has forbidden evil : all good is for 
man’s enjoyment : Righteous to 
live in peace and fulfilment of all 

Text and Notes, 7:32-58 ^ 405-415 

- e - 


Su rat 7: At- A *rdf—( Contd.), 

Noah, Hud, Siilih, Lm, and Shu'aib : 
how their wholesome warning was 
rejected, to the detriment of the 

f Text and Notes, 7:59-87 
Fa tm. \ Text and Notes, 7:88*89 

Moses had to fight alien arrogance as 
well as rebellion among his own 
people, like the final Messenger whom 
he prefigured 

Text and Notes, 7:100-157 

The Prophet's Revelation superseded the 
older Law 

Text and Notes, 7:158-171 

The inborn good in man is strengthened 
by constant reminders from Allah; 
if sin has a respite, it is only for a 
term; Judgment must come; so 
draw near to Allah, in humility and 

Text and Notes, 7:172-206 
Surat: 8 AtAnfai jUVl 

Introduction and Summary 

The Fight is not for Spoils or gain, but 
for the Cause 

Text and Notes, 8:1-19 

Obey Allah's Call, and hold all else as 
naught : the godless will not thrive 

Text and Notes, 8:20-37 


Fait IU 

/ Tl 


'fhe Battle of Badr differentiated Truth 
from Unbelief : its lessons 
Text and Notes, 8:38-40 
ext and Notes, 8:41-64 

The true man is not cowed down by 
odds against him : he fights not for 
spoils, but for truth and faith 
Text and Notes, 8:65-75 


f - 

Surat 9: 

Pan n 


At-Tauba or Baraah PAGES 

Introduction and Summary 494-495 

If the enemy treacherously breaks faith, 
denounce his treaty, but give time 
before declaration of war : Mosques 
are for men of faith 

Text and Notes, 9:1*29 M . 496-507 

Enemies of Faith cannot put out Allah's 
Light : wealth is for good use, not 
for hoarding ; strive and struggle 
for Allah in a straight fight 

Text and Notes, 9:30-42 507-514 

Believers do their duty and make no 
excuses : alms are for poor and 
needy and not for hypocrites : bliss 
of the righteous is in the Good 
Pleasure of Allah 

Text and Notes, 9:43-72 514-523 

Hardest striving needed against evil : 
welcome all chance of service and 

f Text and Notes, 9:73-93 523*5311 

l Text and Notes, 9:94-99 530-531 

The vanguard of Faith expect their 
reward in Allah's Good Pleasure : 

Allah’s grace is free and abounding : 
even the erring obtain it by repentance 
Text and Notes, 9:100-118 532-539 

Truth in word and deed is our fullest 
satisfaction and reward : our striving 
should include study and 
teaching, for our brethren 

Text and Notes, 9:119-129 540-543 

Surat 10: 

Introduction and Summary' 544.545 

Allah guides the human spirit in 
wondrous ways, if man will have 
Faith and put his trust in Allah : 


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Surat 10: Yunus — ( Contd . L 

mankind is one 

Text and Notes, 10:1-20 

All things good, beautiful, and useful 
are from Allah : instead of ephemeral 
good seek the eternal Home of 
Peace from Allah through His Book 

Text and Notes, 10:21-40 

The Truth of Allah must not be shut out 
of our souls : Revelations and 
Prophets are sent to teach us : we 
must accept them and reject falsehood 

Text and Notes, 10:41-70 

Allah works throughout His world in 
Mercy and Justice : repent before 
it is too late 

Text and Notes, 10:71-92 

Be patient and strive with constancy : 
Allah’s Plan is righteous, and for 
the good of His creatures 

Text and Notes, 10:93-109 

Surat 11: Hud 

Introduction and Summary 

Ungrateful man folds up his heart and 
forgets how all nature points to 
Allah and the Hereafter : Allah’s 
Message is the Light that leads and 
the Mercy that forgives 
/ Text and Notes, 11:1-5 
ran i 2 \ Text and Notes, 11:6-24 

Noah loved his people and taught and 
warned them, but they flouted his 
message : Allah’s justice overtook 
them, but he was saved from the 
Flood in the Ark 

Text and Notes, 11:25-49 

The 'Ad were warned against their sins 
but Hud, and the Thfunud by Salih, 








581- 582 

582- 587 



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but they defied Allah, and were 
wiped out 

Text and Notes, 11:50-68 

The angels, on their mission of justice 
to the people of Lut, stopped to 
give Good News to Abraham : the 
people of Lut persisted in their 
abominations and perished, and so 
did Madyan, Shu’aib's people, for 
their frauds 

Text and Notes, 11:69-95 

The same lesson is taught by the 
arrogance of Pharaoh, who misled his 
people : learn and seek Mercy 

Text and Notes, 11:96-123 

Sural 12: Yusuf. 

I'ait 13. 

Introduction and Summary 

The beautiful story of Yusuf : how envy 
and hate made his brothers sell 
him for a small price 

Text and Notes, 12:1-20 

He was bought by a dignitary of 
Pharaoh's Court : the wife of the 
dignitary burned with earthly 
passion and brought him into 
trouble : but he remained true 
and righteous 

Text and Notes, 12:21-42 

He eventually became ruler of Egypt, 
and fought a famine in the service 
of the people : his brothers came, 
not knowing him 
f Text and Notes, 12:43-52 
1 Text and Notes, 12:53-68 

Joseph asked his brethren to bring 
Benjamin with them next lime; by a 
stratagem he made the brethren 
confess their past guilt; he forgave 

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Sural 12: Tujh/— 

them, and sent for his father 

Text and Notes, 12:69-93 

Joseph’s father Jacob comes to Egypt, 
and the whole family are re-united 
honourably; so Allah’s Plan works 
for good 

Text and Notes, 12:94-111 
Surat 13: Ar-Ra'd. JLPjj! 

Introduction and Summary 

Nature proclaims the glory- of Allah; 
Lightning and Thunder are Signs 
of his Might as well as of His 

Text and Notes, 13:1-18 

Those with Faith are like the seeing, 
and those without arc like the blind; 
Allah’s promise never fails 

Text and Notes, 13:19-31 

Men may mock, but Allah’s Truth will 
come to its own : the world's plots 
have no power to defeat it 

Text and Notes, 13:32-43 

Surat 14: J bra him. 

Introduction and Summary 

Revelation leads from darkness to light: 
Prophets must prevail : Truth is as 
a goodly tree, with firm roots, 
spreading branches, and perennial 

Text and Notes, 14:1-27 

Evil tries to mislead : the godly should 
be on their guard : Abraham’s 

Text and Notes, 14:28-52 







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- J ’ 

Surat 15: Al-Hijr* 

Introduction and Summary 

Allah will guard His Truth, and is the 
Source of all things : He is Eternal 
f Text and Notes, 15:1 
pait i4. \ Text and Notes, 15:2-25 

Man’s lowly origin ; his rank raised by 
the breathing of Allah *s spirit into 
him ; Gates of Evil are many, but 
the goal of Good is peace 

Text and Notes, 1 5:26-50 

Allah’s Grace and Mercy are always first 
but His Justice and Wrath will seize 
those who defy His Law 

Text and Notes, 15:51-84 

AllalTs most glorious gift is the Qur-an : 
denounce sin, but be gentle and 

Text and Notes, 15:85-99 
Surat 16: An-NahL 

Introduction and Summary 

Signs and favours innumerable guide 
man to Allah, but arrogance misleads 

Text and Notes, 16:1-25 

The plots of the wicked end in shame 
the Penalty comes in unexpected 
ways ; for nature proclaims Allah 

Text and Notes, 16:26-50 

Allah is One : He provides matt with all 
the means for growth, social, moral, 
and spiritual 

Text and Notes, 16:51-83 

Prophets will witness against men who 
reject Truth : be faithful in intent 


- k * 


Surat 16: An-Nahl (Cotitd.) 


Give up pride of wordly goods : Allah is 
with those who live in self-restraint 
a pure and righteous life 

Text and Notes, 16:101-128 , w . 763-771 

Surat 17: At-lsrda. *1 

ran ts. Introduction and Summary 772-773 

Men of Allah instruct men, but each soul 
has personal responsibility; Allah's 
gifts are for all, hut not the same 
for all 

Text and Notes, 17:1-22 774-782 

Service of Allah is duty to man; life and 
trusts are sacred; pry not into evil, 
but avoid it 

Text and Notes, 17:23-40 


Creation declares Allah's Glory; His 
revelation is Truth ; guard your words 
and avoid dissension 
Text and Notes, 17:41-60 


Roots of Evil; man*s preeminence gives 
him higher responsibility ; Truth 
will last, and Falsehood perish 
Text and Notes, 17:61-84 

Spirit of Inspiration, highest gift of 
Allah : Qur-an teaches Truth ; praise 
the Beautiful Names of Allah 
Text and Notes, 17:85-111 

Surat 18: Al-Kahf. \ « 

Introduction and Summary 

Revelation warns against evil, and 
guides to good everlasling ; Parable 
of Companions of the Cave, and its 

Text and Notes, 18:1-22 






Surat 18: Al-Kahf ( Conid .} 


PJIt L6 

True knowledge is with Allah alone ; 
dispute not nor he puffed up with this 
world's goods 

Text and Notes* 18:23-44 * — - 825-832 

Good Deeds arc the best of possessions in 
Allah's sight * pride is the root of 
evil ; falsehood must perish 

Text and Notes* 18:45-59 832-838 

Moses and the Mysteries ; highest knowledge 
must be sought with patience 

r Text and Notes, 18:60-74 - - 838-841 

L Text and Notes, 18:75-82 * 842-844 

Three episodes in the life of 

Zulqarnatn : power lo be used in the 
service of Allah 

Text and Notes* 18:83-110 845-851 

Surat 19: Maryam. 

Introduction and Summary 852 

Zakariya and Yahya* father and son ; 

Yahya herald of Jesus 

Text and Notes* 19:1-15 .. 853-856 

Jesus and his mother Mary ; Jesus a 
prophet and servant of Allah 

Text and Notes* 19:16-40 *■ — 857-863 

Abraham and his father ; Moses and his 
brother ; IsrmYil the Sacrifice of 
Allah and IsimVil's father 

Text and Notes, 19:41-65 863-869 

The Hereafter certain : let us not stray* 
but glorify Allah 

Text and Notes* 19:66-98 870-876 

Surat 20: Td-Hd. ^ 

Introduction and Summary , 877-878 

Allah's Revelation is not for man's 
distress* but for man's guidance : 

J iTyt 

- m - 


Surat 20: 

T& Ha.—(Contd.) 


Allah's most beautiful Names 
Text and Notes, 20: 1-B 


How Moses was chosen and granted his 
mission in the valley of Tuwa 
Text and Notes, 20:9-36 


Birth of Moses ; how he was prepared for 
his task ; slay with the Midianites ; 
double mission 

Text and Notes, 20:37-76 


Rescue of Israel from bondage ; rebellion 
of Samir! : worship of the calf ; 
warning of the Hereafter 
Text and Notes, 20:77-104 


High and low to be levelled at Judgment ; 
source and allurement of 
evil ; be not impatient, but wait in 

Text and Notes, 20:105-135 


Surat 21: 

AMnhiyda tLjVl 

Part 17. 

Introduction and Summary 


Soon must Judgment come ; adore Allah ; 
there is hut One Allah and One 

Text and Notes, 21:1-29 


Creation shows unity of design and 
benevolence of purpose; take life 
seriously, and receive Allah's Message 
Text and Notes, 21:30-50 


Evil is conquered by virtues, to meet 
all cireumsta rices ; as shown by 
Allah's Prophets: all men and women 
of Allah form one united 

Text and Notes, 21:51-93 


Every deed has its fruit ; Judgment must 
come; repent while there is lime 
Text and Notes, 21 :94- 1 12 _ 



n - 


Sural 22: At-Hajj. 

Introduction and Summary 

Terrible will be the Judgment ; dispute 
not ; but see Allah's Signs, and 
accept His Message 
Text and Notes, 22:1-25 

Rituals provided for spiritual growth ; 

understand the meaning of Pilgrimage, 
Sacrifice, and Fighting for 

Text and Notes, 22:2648 

Repel evil; he witnesses for Allah 
amongst men 
Text and Notes, 22:49-78 

Surat 23: Al-Mununun, j 

pan is Introduction and Summary 

The virtues which go with Faith lead 
to success and bliss; man has in 
himself proofs of Allah's Providence 
Text anti Notes, 23:1-50 

The Brotherhood of Truth is one ; sects 
are created by narrow men 
Text and Notes, 23:51-92 

Eschew evil ; pay not evil buck in its 
own coin ; after death there is no 
going backwards nor forwards till 

Text and Notes, 23:93*118 

Surat 24: An-Nur, 

Introduction and Summary 

Sex offences to be punished in public, 
slander of women is a grave offence 
Text and Notes, 24:1*26 

Privacy and decorum in the home; 

chastity and purity 
Text and Notes, 24:27-34 

- O * 


Surat 24: An-Nur — (Contd.) PAGES 

Allah is Light ; Parable of Light and 

Text and Notes* 24:35-57 1015-1025 

Privacy and respect for elders ; but no 
superstitions in social intercourse ; 
decorum in public council, and 

respect for Leader 

Text and Notes, 24:58-64 1026-1030 

Surat 25: Al-Furq&n. jU y^\ 

Introduction and Summary 1031 

Revelation is the Criterion for 
distinguishing between right 
and wrong 

Text and Notes* 25:1-20 1032-1038 

Part 19 Judgment will seize the blasphemers 
who reject Allah's Signs ; Allah's 
Truth in Revelation penetrates 
slowly to man governed by impulse 

Text and Notes* 25:21-44 1038-1044 

Signs of Allah in Nature point to the Law 
Divine ; the virtues of those who 
adore Him 

Text and Notes* 25:45-77 1044-1054 

Surat 26: Ash-Shu 'arm, *1 ^*_Jj| 

Introduction and Summary 1055 

Fret not ; Allah’s Light will shine* as it 
did before the wise ones of Pharaoh 

Text and Notes* 26:1-69 1056-1066 

In spite of Abraham's people Abraham 
received the Light ; mi less did 
Noah* in a world of Unfailh 

Text and Notes* 26:70-122 — „„ 1066-1072 

The *Ad perished for their violence* and 
the Thamud for extravagance and 
sacrilege ; they could not resist Allah 

Text and Notes* 26:123-159 1073-1077 


Surat 26: Ash-Shuaraa — (Canid.)* 


The abominations of those who mocked 
the message of Lot recoiled on 
themselves, and so did the fraud 
and dishonesty of the mockers of 

Text and Notes, 26:160-191 .. 1077 1081 

Revelation comes through the Spirit of 
Faith and Truth, and is not like the 
vain words of false poets 

Text and Notes, 26:192-227 1081-1086 

Appendix 4: Thamud Inscriptions at ul-Hijr T .... 1087-1088 

Surat 27: An- N ami. 

Introduction and Summary . 1089 

Revelation makes things clear, guides us 
in life, and gives us Glad Tidings ; 
how the Message came to Moses 
through the Fire 

Text and Notes, 27:1-14 1090-1093 

How David and Solomon praised Allah; 

Solomon and the Ant ; Solomon and the 
Queen of Sheba 

Text and Notes, 27:15-44 „ „ 1093-1102 

The plot of the nine wicked men against 
Salih brought about their own 
destruction, as did also the defiance of 
purity and cleanness by the 
people of Lot 

Text and Notes, 27:45-58 1103-11 06 

The gifts of nature and the solace of 
mind and soul come from Allah ; 
trust in His Grace and Mercy ; 

Judgment will come 

/ Text and Notes, 27:59 1 106 

Hum 1 Text and Notes, 27:60-93 .... _ 1106-1115 

Surat 28: Al-Qasas. 

Introduction and Summary 1116 

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Surat 28: AI-Qasas — (Contd.) 

Moses was prepared in infancy, youth, 
and exile, for his mission, and he 
succeeded by Allah’s help 
Text and Notes, 28: 1-42 

So was Muhammad prepared, to be a 
Mercy to men 
Text and Notes, 28:43-60 

In the Hereafter, each soul must answer 
for itself ; Mercy and Truth are 
from Allah alone 
Text and Notes, 28:61-75 

Not wealth, but righteousness attains 
the happy End ; Allah is the only 

Text and Notes, 28:76-88 

Surat 29: Al-'Ankabut tjj.--- 

Introduction and Summary 

Faith and Truth must always prevail 
Text and Notes, 29:1-27 

Worldly power cannot defy the right, 
nor can misused intelligence 
obscure Allah's Light ; T his world's 
strength, skill, beauty and power 
are like a spider's web, flimsy before 
the eternal verities 
Text and Notes, 29:28-44 

Pan :i Teach Allah's Truth and pray to Him ; 
Revelation carries its own Proofs 
and Rejecters miss their own 

Text and Notes, 29:45-69 

Surat 30: Ar-Riim . by* 

Introduction and Summary 

Empires rise and fall, but the true 
Decision rests with Allah, Who in His 






















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Sural 3th Ar-Rum — (Conid.)* 

own good time will separate Good 
from Evil 

Text and Notes, 30:1-19 

Allah's signs arc many, hut they 
all point to His Unity, Goodness, 
Power and Mercy ; Unity in 
Religion ; worship due to Him 

Text and Notes. 30:20-40 

Evil and Mischief may spread, but Allah 
will restore the balance in the 
End ; He created Purity, Harmony 
and Law ; evil is doomed to perish 

Text and Notes. 30:41-60 

5: First contact of (slam 
with World Movements 

6: Comparative Chronology of the 
Early Years of Islam 

Lukman Ijy* 

Introduction and Summary 

Revelation is a Guide and a Mercy to 
Men and teaches them Wisdom ; 

Wc gave wisdom to Luqman ; Path 
of the Golden Mean 
Text and Notes, 31:1-19 

Nature declares Allah's Bounties ; We 
must know our place ; Allah is the 
only Reality ; He knows all 
what is hidden 
Text and Notes, 31:20*34 

Surat 32: As-Sajda. 


a JJ~* 

Introduction and Summary 

Time and Allah's Creation: 

Good and Evil are not equal in 
Goal ; Learn now, before the Day 
of Decision comes 
Text and Notes, 32:1-30 












- s - 

Surat 33: Ai-Ahzab. 

introduction and Summary 

Allah loves Truth ; Call things by right 
names ; shun superstition ; Prophet 
is more than father ; His Consorts 
are mothers 
Text and Notes, 33:1-8 

Confederates against Islam do not 
succeed ; misused heritage must be 

Text and Notes, 33:9-27 

Prophet's Consorts ; their dignity and 
duties ; Allah decrees no unhappy 

Text and Notes, 33:28-30 
Text and Notes, 33:31-52 

Refined respect in society ; specially to 
the Prophet and his family ; women to 
upold their honour and dignity ; 
man to be true to his noble Trust 
from Allah 

Text and Notes, 33:53-73 

Surat 34: Saha. 

L- o 

Introduction and Summary 

Allah's Mercy and Power endure for ever; 
Human glory, whether in David or 
Solomon or the City of Saba , only 

Text and Notes, 34:1-30 

Un faith has no stable foundations ; 

True values will come in the end 
Text and Notes, 34:31-54 

Surat 35: Fatir r ^ 

Introduction and Summary 

All power, wisdom, beauty and truth 
flow from Allah ; it is evil that 



1249- 1250 

1250- 1261 






- t - 

deceives and plots ; seek Allah's 
love and glorify Him 

Text and Notes, 35:1*26 

There are grades in nature and in the 
next world ; The Good will 
reach Bliss, while Evil will be 

Text and Notes, 35:27-45 



Surat 36: Td-57/i 

U"*- a JJ 

Introduction and Summary 

The Quranic Revelation is a guide to 
the Straight Path ; story of the 
City where the one righteous man 
from the outskirts bore witness to 

f Text and Notes, 36:1-21 
p«t 23 \ Text and Notes, 36:22-32 

Signs of Allah everywhere, to bear 
witness to Him, on earth, in man, and 
in the heavens ; prepare for the 

Text and Notes, 36:33-50 

When Judgment comes, the Joy and 
Peace for the Blessed will be crowned 
with Nearness to Allah ; alas for 
the evil, their own nature and 
actions will speak against them 

Text and Notes, 36:51-83 

Surat 37: As-Sdffat oti L^oll Sj ^ 

Introduction and Summary 

We must w'ork in disciplined ranks to 
repel evil, for Allah is One : we 
must choose between Good and 
evil, with their consequences in the 

Text and Notes, 37:1*74 








* u - 


Sural 37: As-Sdffdt — (Canid.), PAGES 

The Prophets of Allah were flouted and 
persecuted* hut Allah's Purpose 
always won, and they receive the 
blessings of posterity 

Text and Notes, 37:75*138 1352*1362 

Ascribe not to Allah things derogatory to 
Him ; the ranks of angels and 
righteous men stand firm in His 

Text and Notes, 37:139-182 1362-1368 

Surat 38: Sad. ^ 

Introduction and Summary (369 

Self-glory and Separatism, Envy and 
Suspicion* lead to evil ; spiritual 
power more potent than worldly 
power ; David's case 

Text and Notes, 38:1-26 _ 1370-1378 

Solomon and other men of power and 
vision never forgot Allah ; all should 
strive to win the final Bliss 

Text and Notes, 38:27*64 1378-1387 

Gospel of Unity is the true cure for 
evil ; no power has evil over Allah's 
servants sincere and true 

Text and Notes, 38:65-88 1387-1391 

Surat 39 : A z-Zu mar . ^ J | jj 

Introduction and Summary 1392 

To Allah alone is devotion due ; variety 
in creation points to unity in plan; 
all nature proclaims His Grace and 
Loving* Kind ness 

Text and Notes, 39:1-21 1393-140! 

Allah teaches men by parables, but His 
Word is straight and clear ; no 
other thing can be of any account 
before His Law 

f Text and Notes, 39:22-3! 1401-14(15 

Part** vTcxt and Notes, 39:32-52 1405-1413 

- v - 


Surat 39: A z-Zumar — (Conid ) . 

No soul should despair because of its sin ; 
Allah's Mercy unbounded ; repent 
before Judgment comes 

Text and Notes, 39:53-75 

Surat 40: Gafxr. 

Introduction and Summary 

Believe in Allah ; He forgives sin and 
accepts repentance ; Day of 
Requital ever drawing near 

Text and Notes, 40:1-20 

Evil comes to nothing but evil, and is 
brought low ; testimony of humble 
Believer in Pharaoh's Court 

Text and Notes, 40:21-50 

Allah's grace and help ever ready for His 
servants ; dispute not Allah's Signs ; 
nothing avails if soul is dead 

Text and Notes, 40:51-85 


1413 1421 





Surat 41: Fuss Hat 


Introduction and Summary 


Revelation makes things clear; Message 
of hope and mercy ; warning against 
snares of evil ; all Creation and 
History, and the powers within you, 
speak of Him 

Text and Notes, 41:1-32 1453-1463 

Best of men is the man of Faith, whose 
law of life is the Will of Allah ; Allah's 
Message comes to guide and heal; 
dispute not, but turn to Truth, and 

/ Text and Notes, 41:33-46 1463 1468 

Pari 25: \ Tex! and Notes, 41:47-54 14684471 

Surat 42: Ash-Shuru. lSjj 

Introduction and Summary 1472 

- w - 

fL^JT £&£ 


Surat 42: Ash-Shura — ( Contd. ) 



Unity in Inspiration and in Creation ; 



no sects or contentions ; all will 

return to Allah 


Text and Notes, 42:1-29 



Misfortunes due to our ill deeds ; Allah 


forgives ; live true and in mutual 



consultation and forbearance ; rely 


on Allah ; His Word comes as a 



guide and mercy 

Text and Notes, 42:30-53 



Surat 43: Az-Zukhruf. 



Introduction and Summary 



Revelation makes things clear ; mock 




not Allah's Signs, nor attribute false 




qualities or any partners to Him ; 


follow guidance rather than ancestral 




Text and Notes, 43:1-25 

1496-1502 1 

If Arabs go to ancestors, let them follow 


Abraham ; spiritual worth not in 

gold or silver ; if Israel goes to 

Moses, he was mocked by Pharaoh, 

but Pharaoh perished 

Text and Notes, 43:26-56 


If Christians go to Jesus, he preached 

the One True God ; dispute not ; 

Truth has come and must prevail 

Text and Notes, 43:57-89 


Surat 44: Ad- Dukhan* jL>-JLI1 Sj ^ 

Introduction and Summary 


Revelation is a blessing, as it warns 

against evil ; Pharaoh's men resisted 

in arrogance, but their power 

and glory departed unwept 

Text and Notes, 44:1-29 




- x - 


Surat 44: Ad- Dukhan— (Contd). 

If Israel fell in their trial, can Ouraish 
escape their doom for sin ? World 
created for just ends ; good and 
evil will he sorted out 
Text and Notes, 44:30-59 

Surat 45: Al-Jdthiya. h 

Introduction and Summary 

Accept Signs of Allah, and follow 
guidance ; forgive weaker brethern ; 
form no sects, nor follow vain 
desire, glory of Allah 
Text and Notes, 45:1-37 

Surat 46: Al-Ahqaf Ijy* 

pm 2 * Introduction and Summary 

Creation is for just ends ; Seam the 
Truth and sene Allah ; be kind to 
parents : evil will be undone ; 
learn patient perseverance 
Text and Notes, 46:1-35 

Surat 47: Muhammad. JU^ 

Introduction and Summary 

Believe in Revelation and follow not 
vanities, which will he destroyed ; 
Allah will guide 
Text and Notes, 47:1-19 

In fighting for Truth there is no room 
for faint-heartedness or half- 
hearted ness ; strive your utmost 
and give yourself generously 
Text and Notes, 47:20-38 

Sural 48: AhFat-h 

Introduction and Sum man* 

Victory and 1 telp, conditions for and 
against ; true fealty, patience, and 











- Y* 


Sural 48: Al-Fat-h — {ConidJ 


self- restraint ; strength and gentleness 

Text and Notes, 48:1*29 

Surat 49: Al- Hu jurat ol oj w 

Introduction and Summary 

Manners to Leader and in social life ; 
avoid rumours, quarrels, suspicion, 
and spying ; Islam a privilege 

Text and Notes, 49:1*18 

Surat 50; Qaf, (j 

Introduction and Summary 

Revelation confirms the Signs in 
Nature and History ; man's Record 
will confront him at judgment 

Text and Notes, 50:1*29 

Vision of Judgment ; Patience, Prayer 
and Praise 

Text and Notes, 50:30-45 

Surat 51; Az-Zanytit* oLjlJJl 

Introduction and Summary 

The Signs of Allah are various, and His 
Truth and Promise are sure and 

Text and Notes, 51:1-23 

Signs were given for instruction to 
people in the past ; so is a Reminder 
being sent to you for your 

Pan 27 

f Text and Notes, 51:24-30 
\ Text m 

and Notes, 51:31-60 

Surat 52: Af-Vur 

Introduction and Summary 










Surat 52: At-Tur—(Contd.) PAGES 

All acts, good or ill, have inevitable 
consequences ; Judgment must 
come ; praise and serve Allah 

Text and Notes, 52:1-49 1623-1634 

Surat 53: An-Najm. 

Introduction and Summary 1635 

In true Revelation, no error or deception ; 
true Reality from Allah, Who 
is all-in-all 

Text and Notes, 53:1-32 ^ 1636-1641 

Give your all to Allah ; He is the goal ; 
serve Him 

Text and Notes, 53:33-62 1642-1646 

Surat 54: Al-Qamar. ^iJl qj 

Introduction and Summary' 1647 

The 1 lour of Judgment is nigh ; is there 
any that will receive admonition ? 

Text and Notes, 54:1-55 , — 1648-1658 

Surat 55: Ar-Rahm&n ^ 

Introduction and Summary — 1659 

Allah's Revelation and His favours ; which 
of them wall ye deny ? All will 
pass away, but Allah will endure 

Text and Notes, 55:1-34 1660-1665 

Evil will not escape justice, nor Good 
its reward ; which favours of Allah 
will ye deny? 

Text and Notes, 55:35-76 1665-1671 

Surat 56: Al-WaqVa, 4 jd\j}\ 

Introduction and Summary 1672 

Day of Judgment will sort out men 
into three classes 

Text and Notes, 56:1-56 1673-1679 

- za - 


Surat 56: Al-Waqi’a — f Court/,) 

Everything points to Allah ; accept Hts 
Message, and glorify Him 

Text and Notes, 56:57-% 

Surat 57: AUHadid. 

Introduction and Summary 

Follow Allah’s Light in humble dedication 
and sincerity ; seek Him and 
trust Him ; not isolated renunciation, 
hut service 

Text and Notes, 57:1-29 

Surat 58: AiMujadila. itaUJil lj ^ 

Pjn 28 Introduction and Summary 

Condemnation of Zihar and all pretences 
and superstitions derogatory to 
women ; also of secret counsels 
and intrigues 

Text and Notes, 58:1-22 

Surat 59: A l- Has hr. 

Introduction and Summary 

Treachery foiled ; just distribution 
among brethren ; Glory to Allah, 

Lord of the most Beautiful Names 

Text and Notes, 59:1-24 

Surat 60: Al-Mumtahana, 

Introduction and Summary 

Social relations with Unbelievers ; 
marriages with them 

Text and Notes, 60:1-13 

Surat 61: As -Stiff, , i . r1 1 i 

Introduction and Summary 

Show, by your conduct, unity, 
discipline, and earnest effort ; help 












- zb - 



Surat 61: A$-$aff — ( Contd . ) . 

Allah's Cause 
Text and Notes, 61:144 

Surat 62: Al-Jumu a. c 

Introduction and Summary 


Allah's Revelation is not exclusive but 
for all ; Day of Assembly (Friday) 
Text and Notes, 62:1-11 

Surat 63: Al-Munafiqun, J jilsUd Ijy^* 

Introduction and Summary 

Caution against the wiles of Hypocrites 
Belie vers to serve Allah and practise 
good deeds of charity 
Text and Notes, 63:1-11 

Surat 64: At-Tagdbun* 

Introduction and Summary 

I flj y-* 

Mutual Gain and Loss here and in the 

Text and Notes, 64:148 

Surat 65: At-Ttiiaq. \ 

Introduction and Summary 

Divorce not to be abused ■ all interests 
to be protected 
Text and Notes, 65:142 

Surat 66: At-Tahrim. Ijy* 

Introduction and Summary 

Sex relations should be confidential and 
harmonious ; turn not away ; seek 
virtue for self and family 
Text and Notes, 66:142 













V" J v i. J y J. 

- zc * 

•'# 5/!? :-'••* s&s jA* &£« jAt &fet %H :&. •>*£ ,** 


Surat 67: Al-Mulk. sUiil 

Part 29 Introduction and Summary 

Blessed and Most Gracious is Allah, 

Whose goodness and glory shine 
everywhere ; His is the true 
Reality ; His promise of the Here- 
after is true 

Text and Notes, 67:1-30 
Sural 68: Al-Qalam. hj-^ 

Introduction and Summary 

The Pen betokens the Record, the 
Decree, the Judgment ; man is tried 
against selfishness and overweening 

Text and Notes, 68:1-33 

The true standard is with Allah ; repent 
and seek His Grace 

Text and Notes, 68:34-52 

Surat 69: AI-Haqqa. 

Introduction and Summary 

U- 1 l j y*t 

Seek absolute Reality : he not lured by 
false appearances 
Text and Notes, 69:1-52 

Surat 70: Al-Ma’drij, 

Introduction and Summary 

^jLwJd Cj \y~n 

Allah is Lord of the ways of Ascent ; 
mystery of Time ; new World after 
Judgment ; who will he the 
honoured ones in the Garden of 
Bliss ? 

Text and Notes, 70:1-44 

Surat 71: Nuh. 

Introduction and Summary 

Noah’s agony, and Ills Prayer 
Text and Notes, 71:1-28 













- zd - 


Sural 72: At- Jinn. Jr' 

Introduction and Summary 

Hidden spiritual forces recognise the 
"'wonderful Recital” ; Allah's 
message points to the Hereafter 
Text and Notes* 72:T28 

Sural 73: AtuMuzzammit. 

Introduction and Summary 

Prayer and humility ; patience under 

Text and Notes* 73:1-20 

Surat 74: Al-Afudtimhthir. 

JjlLl a 

Introduction and Summary 

The Seer* by devotion and contemplation * 
prepares himself to proclaim the 
message ; sins of un regene rate 
man, and his End 
Text and Notes* 74:1-56 

Surat 75: Al-QiydmaL jusL^JI lj ^ 

Introduction and Summary 

Day of Account ; keep it ever in view; 
contrast between the Blessed ones 
and the Sinners 
Text and Notes, 75:1-40 

Surat 76: At-fnsdn. d\ I'Vl 

Introduction and Summary 

What is man’s origin, and his destiny ? 
Will he choose Chains and Yokes 
and Fire* or the Rowing Cup of 
Bliss ? Revelation as an admonition 
Text and Notes* 76:1-31 

Surat 77: Al-MursatdL oj 

Introduction and Summary 4 













- ze - 

i - 



Surat 77: AI-Mursatdt— (Contd.) 

Revelation is a cleansing Wind, that 
points to Judgment : ht Ah woe, 
that Day, to the Rejectors of 

Text and Notes, 77:1-50 

Surat 78: Ati-Nabaa. 

LJI 5 

Pan 3 d Introduction and Summary 

Dispute not about the great Day of 
Judgment ; evidences of Allah's 
goodness and justice arc all around 
us ; let us betake ourselves to our 
Lord Most Gracious 
Text and Notes, 78:1-40 

Surat 79: An-Ndzi'aL oU-jUl 

Introduction and Summary 

Allah's errands of mercy and justice are 
being fulfilled every day ; but the 
great Judgment will entirely 
restore true values ; prepare for that 

Text and Notes, 79:1-46 

Surat 80: ' Abasa . 

Introduction and Summary' 

a JJ^ 








The poor and blind may be the readier for 
Allah's Message, which Ls universal; 
character of Revelation and 

Text and Notes* 80:1-42 1897-1902 

Surat 81: At-Takwir 

Introduction and Summary 1903 

The Revelation 

Text and Notes, 81:1-29 1904-1909 

■ ■ ■ - ■ ■■■ ■ ' ■ ■ % 

- zf - 



Surat 82: A i- In ft tar. jUxilNl cjj^ 

Introduction and Summary 

The Hereafter 

Text and Notes, 82:1-19 

Surat 83: Ai-Mutaffifcen 

Introduction and Summary 

All kinds of fraud condemned 
Text and Notes, 83:1-36 

Surat 84: Al-Inshiqdq. . 

Introduction and Summary 

The gloom and toil of this life ; contrast 
with Hereafter 
Text and Notes, 84:1-25 

Surat 85: Al-Buriij. ^ 

Introduction and Summary 

Persecution of Allah's votaries 
Text and Notes, 85:1-22 

Surat 86: At-Tariq. JjLkJi 

Introduction and Summary' 

Out of darkness shines the Light ; so does 
Revelation light the soul 
Text and Notes, 86:1-17 

Surat 87: At-A'Ia a jjr^ 

Introduction and Summary 

Allah leads on man by stages to the 

Text and Notes, 87:1-19 

Surat 88: AI-Gdshiya. 

Introduction and Summary 

Penalty or Joy in the Hereafter 
Text and Notes, 88:1-26 














mmwm i WR w ^ •. m wmm^ 


Sunil 89: Al-Fajr. 

Introduction and Summary 

This life's contrasts should not blind us 
to the Realities of the Hereafter; 
realise the Sure Event 
Text and Notes, 89:1-30 

Surat 90: AlBalad 

Introduction and Summary 

An oath by the Prophet's City ; 

struggle up the Steep Path 
Text and Notes, 90:1-20 

Surat 9 1 : Ash- Shams. 

Introduction and Summary 

Learn from Allah's Signs Allah’s Law ; 

tile choice is with you 
Text and Notes, 91:1-15 

Surat 92: Al-Lail. 

Introduction and Summary 

Men strive for diverse ends ; take Allah's 
guidance and seek His Face 
Text and Notes, 92:1-21 

Surat 93: Ad-Dhuha. 0 

Introduction and Summary 

I lope shines like the Dawn through 
Darkness ; follow the Light Divine 
Text and Notes, 93:1-11 

Surat 94: A l- shark* ojj^i 

introduction and Summary 

No trouble but is linked with ease 
and joy 

Text and Notes, 94:1-8 

- zh - 

Surat 95: At-Tin ' 

Introduction and Summary 

Man created in best of moulds, but 
liable to fall unless he believes and 
leads a good life 
Text and Notes, 95:1-8 

Surat 96: Al-'Ataq. jJuJl 

1m reduction and Summary 

Allah teaches man new knowledge; His 
Message to be proclaimed 
Text and Notes, 96:1-19 

Surat 97: Al-Qadr. jJuJl 

Introduction and Summary 

Night of Allah's Revelation 
Text and Notes, 97:1-5 

Surat 98: At-Baiyina, y , J l 

Introduction and Summary 

Clear Evidence : Straight Religion 
Text and Notes, 98:1-8 

Surat 99: Al-Zahalah. J 

Introduction and Summary 

As with a tremendous Earthquake, 
this world will he dissolved 
Text and Notes, 99:1-8 

Surat 100: Al~'Adiyat l ij ^ 

Introduction and Summary 

Spiritual power is irresistible, but man 
is ungrateful 

Text and Notes, 100:1-11 
Surat 101 \ Ai-Qdri'a. ipjlajl lj 

Introduction and Summary 















- zi - 


Surat 101: Al-Qari‘a — (Conid.) 


Balance of Justice will appraise 

all deeds 

Text and Notes, 101:1-1 1 


Surat 102 : Al-Takathur. jL53 5j w 

Introduction and Summary 


Pile not up things ephemeral 

Text and Notes, 102:1-8 ......... 


Surat 103: Al-Asr. 

Introduction and Summary 


Time shows that nothing lasts but Faith, 

goodness, truth, arid virtue 

Text and Notes, 103:1-3 


Appendix 7: Oaths and Adjurations in the 



Surat 1 04 : Al- H w n a za . 1 1 o j 


Introduction and Summary 


Scandal, back biting, and miserliness 

Text and Notes, 104:1-9 


Surat 105: Al-Fil. w 

Introduction and Summary 


Earthly power battles in vain against 

sacred things ; Abraha’s army 

Text and Notes, 105:1-5 


Surat 106: Quraish. S a j w 

Introduction and Summary 


Security and prosperity should make 

men grateful in the service of Allah ; 

lesson for the Quraish 

Text and Notes, 106:1-4 



: "S 


«nn#Mi SiB ■■■■•■ P ■■■■■■■■■■■ Www, 

‘ ZJ " 

Sunn IQ9: Al-Kdfirun. j 

Introduction and Summary 

Faith holds fast to Truth, and cannot 
he forced 

Text and Notes, 1(19:1-6 

Surat 110: A n *Nasr, ^ n ^ I S j w 

Introduction and Summary 

Help of Allah and Victory ; praise Lhe 

Text and Notes, 110:1-3 

Surat 1 1 1: Al-Mastid. 

Introduction and Summary 

Curses and spile recoil on their authors 
Text and Notes, 1 11:1-5 

Surat 112 : Af-Ikhlds. 

Introduction and Summary 

Pure Doctrine of Unity 
Text and Notes, 112:1-4 

Surat 113 :Al*Falaq. JjXiJ! gjj— * 

Introduction and Summary 










- zk - 

- zl - 

- 1 - 

Intro, to S.l 


First comes that beautiful Sura , 15 

The Opening Chapter 1 ' 1 of Seven Verses 17 , 

Rightly called the Essence of the Book. 

It teaches us the perfect Prayer, 

For if we can pray aright, it means 

That we have some knowledge of Allah 

And His attributes, of Mis relations 

To us and Mis creation, which includes 

Ourselves; that we glimpse the source 

From which we come, and that final goal 

Which is our spiritual destiny 

Under Allah's true judgment; then 

We offer ourselves to Allah and seek Mis light. 

Prayer is the heart of Religion and Fault 
But how shall we pray? What words shall convey 
I he yearnings of our miserable ignorant hearts 
To the Knower of all? Is it worthy of Him 
Or of our spiritual nature to ask 
For vanities, or even for such physical needs 
As our daily bread? The Inspired One 
Taught us a Prayer that sums up our faith. 

Our hope, and our aspiration in things that matter. 

We think in devotion of Allah's name and Mis Nature 
We praise Him for Mis creation and His Cherishing ca 
We call to mind the Realities, seen and unseen; 

We offer Him worship and ask His guidance; 

And we know the straight from the crooked path 
By the light of His grace that illumines the righteous. 

15. Each chapter or portion of the Our -an is called a Sura, which means a Degree 
or Step, by which we mount up Sometimes whole Suras were revealed, and sometimes 
portions, which were arranged under the Prophet's directions, Some Suras are tong, and 
some are short, but a logical thread runs through them all. Each verse of the Sura is 
called an Aval (plural. Aval), which means also a sign. A verse of revelation is a Sign 
of Allah's wisdom and goodness just as much as Allah's beautiful handiwork in the 
material creation or His dealings in history are signs to us, if we would understand. Some 
Ayfi/s are long, and some are short. The Ayat is the true unit of the Our-an. 

16. Al-Fatiha — Opening Chapter. 

17. These seven verses form a complete unit by themselves, and are recited in every 
prayer and on many other occasions. Cf , xv. 87. 

- 2 - 

Sunit Al-Fattlm I . Ayat 1-4 

JllZ* I JjVl 

y, __£ 

Al-Fatiha, or the Opening Chapter. 

1. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious T 

Most Merciful . ,E| 

2. Praise be to Allah 

The Chcrisher and Sustainer" of 

llie Worlds: 

3. Most Gracious, Most Merciful: 

4. Master of the Day of Judgment. 

s j&mm 

i ■ I 

IS. By universal consent it is rightly placed at the beginning of the Qur-an, as 
summing up, in marvellously terse and comprehensive words, man's relation to Allah in 
contemplation and prayer. In our spiritual contemplation the first words should he those 
of praise. If the praise is from our inmost being, it brings us closer to Allah. Then our 
eyes see all good, peace, and harmony. Evil, rebellion, and conflict are purged out. They 
do not exist for us, for our eyes are lifted up above them in praise. Then we see Allah's 
attributes better (verses 2-4), This leads us to the attitude of worship and acknowledgment 
(verse 5). And finally comes prayer for guidance, and a contemplation of what guidance 
means (verses 6-7). 

Allah needs no praise, for He is above all praise: He needs no petition, for He knows 
our needs better than we do ourselves; and His bounties arc open without asking, to the 
righteous and the sinner alike. The prayer is primarily for our own spiritual education, 
consolation, and confirmation. 

That is why the words in this Sura are given to ns in the form in which we should 
utter them. 

19, Hie Arabic words "Rahman" and "Rahim" translated “Most Gracious” and 
“Most Merciful” arc both intensive forms referring to different aspects of Allah's attribute 
of Mercy, The Arabic intensive is more suited to express Allah's attributes than the 
superlative degree in English. The latter implies a comparison with other beings, or with 
other times or places, while there is no being like unto Allah. Mercy may imply pity, 
long-suffering, patience, and forgiveness, all of which the sinner needs and Allah Most 
Merciful bestows in abundant measure But there is a Mercy that goes before even the 
need arises, the Grace which is ever watchful, and flows from Allah Most Gracious to 
all Ills creatures, protecting them, preserving them, guiding them, and leading them to 
clear light and higher life. 

Opinion is divided whether die Bismilldh should he numbered as a separate verse 
or not. It is unanimously agreed that it is a part of the Our- tin in Sura An-Naml, 
Therefore it is better to give it an independent number in the first Sura For subsequent 
Suras it is treated as an introduction or head- line, and therefore not numbered, 

2d. The Arabic word Rahb, usually translated Lord, has also the meaning of 
cherishing, sustaining, bringing to maturity, Allah cures for all the worlds He has created, 

-3 - 

S.t.A.5-7 J. I JjVl ^ 


_i}Cj_}-A/-Ju -IlO 


r*' ■*. f *» * * C* ?* ** gV> 

5. Hicc do we worship* 

And Thine aid wc seek. 

6. Show'- us the straight way* 

7. The way of those on whom 
Thou has bestowed Thy Grace, 
Those whose (portion) 

Is not wrath/’ 

And who go not astray/ 1 

* * ^ p : , 

21. On realizing in our souls Allah's love and care. His grace and mercy, and His 
power and justice (as Ruler of the Day of Judgment), the immediate result is that we 
bend in ihe act of worship, and see both our shortcomings and lbs all-sufficient power. 
The emphatic form means that not only do we reach the position of worshipping Allah 
and asking for His help, hut wc worship Him alone and ask for His aid only. For there 
ts none other than He worthy of our devotion and able io help us. The plural “wc" 
indicates that we associate ourselves with all who seek Allah* thus strengthening ourselves 
and strengthening them in a fellowship of faith. 

22. if we translate bv the English word "guide 1 *, wc shall have to say; Guide us to 
and in the straight Way". For we may he wandering aimlessly, and the first step is to 
find the way; and the second need is to keep in the Way: our own wisdom may fail in 
either ease. The straight Way is often the narrow Way* or the steep Way* which many 
people shun (xe. H). By the world's perversity the straight Way is sometimes stigmatized 
and the crooked Way praised. How r are we to judge? We must ask for Allah’s guidance. 
With a little spiritual insight we shall see which are the people who walk in Ihe light 
of .Allah's grace* and which are those that walk in the darkness of Wrath, This also would 
help our judgment. 

23. Note that the words relating to Grace are connected actively with Allah: those 
relating to Wrath are impersonal In the one ease Allah's Mercy encompasses us beyond 
our deserts. In the other case our own actions are responsible for the Wraths the negative 
of Grace* Peace* or Harmony. 

24. Are there two categories?-Thuse who are in the darkness of Wrath and those 
who stray? The first are those who deliberately break Allah's law. the second those who 
stray out of carelessness or negligence* Both are responsible for their own acts or 
omissions. In opposition to both are the people who are in the light of Allah's Grace: 
tor His Grace not only protects them front active wrong (if they will only submit their 
will io Him) but also from straying into paths of temptation or carelessness. The negative 
guir should be construed as applying not to the way. but as describing men protected from 
two dangers by Allah's Grace. 

zszzm — — - — 

- 4 * 

Intro, to S. 2 



As the Opening Sura sums up in seven beautiful verses the essence of the 
Quran, so this Sura sums up in 286 verses the whole teaching of the Qur-an* 
It is a closely reasoned argument* 

Summary — It begins (verses 1-29) by classifying men into three broad 
categories, depending on how they receive Allah's message. 

This leads lo the story of the creation of man, the high destiny intended 
for him, Ins fall, and the hope held out to him {ii. 30-39), 

Israel's story is then told according to their own records and traditions-what 
privileges they received and how they abused them (ii. 40-86), thus illustrating 
again as by a parable the general story of man. 

In particular, reference is made to Moses and Jesus and their struggles with 
an unruly people; how the people of the Book played false with their own lights 
and in their pride rejected Muhammad, who came in the true line of Prophets 
(ii, 87-121). 

They falsely laid claim to the virtues of Father Abraham: he was indeed 
a righteous Imam, but he was the progenitor of IsmaTL’s line (Arabs) as well 
as of Israel's line, and he with Ismail built the KiVbu (the House of Allah in 
Makkah) and purified it, thus establishing a common religion, of which Islam 
is the universal exponent (ii. 122-141), 

The Ka'ba was now to be the centre of universal worship and the symbol 
of Islamic unity (ii, 142-167), 

The Islamic Ummat (brotherhood) having thus been established with its 
definite centre and symbol, ordinances are laid down for the social life of Ihe 
community, with the proviso (it, 177) that righteousness does not consist in 
formalities, but in faith, kindness, prayer, charity, probity, and patience under 
suffering. The ordinances relate to food and drink, bequests, fasts. Jihad, wine 
and gambling, treatment of orphans and women, etc. (ii. 168-242). 

Lest the subject of Jihad should be misunderstood, it is taken up again in 
the story of Saul, Goliath and David, in contrast to the story of Jesus (ii* 243- 

And so the lesson is enforced that true virtue lies in practical deeds of 
manliness, kindness, and good faith {ii. 254-283), and Allah's nature ** is called 
to mind in the sublime AyaMd-Kum, the Verse of the Throne (Ii, 255). 

The Sura ends with an exhortation, to Faith, Obedience, a sense of Personal 

24- A. By the expression *' Allah's nature" it is meant: Allah's attributes. 

- 5 - 

intro, to S. 2 

Responsibility, and Prayer (ii, 2S4-2K6). 

This is the longest Sura of the Qur-an, and in it occurs the longest verse 
(ti. 282). The name of the Sura is from the Parable of the Heifer in ii. 67-71. 
which illustrates the insufficiency of carping obedience. When faith is lost, 
people put off obedience with various excuses: even when at last they obey in 
the letter, they fail in the spirit, which means that they get fossilized, and their 
self-sufficiency prevents them front seeing that spiritually they are not alive but 
dead. For life is movement, activity, striving, fighting, against baser things. And 
this is the burden of the Sura. 

This is in the main an early Madina h Sura. 

- 6 - 

Surat Al-Baqurah 2 Ayat 1-4 

Ju/* 1 J ji\ 

T Ijk Jl 

hi the name of Allah, Most gracious 
Most Merciful 

This is the Book; 

In it is guidance sure, without 


To those who fear 6 Allah: 

Who believe in the Unseen, 

Are steadfast in prayer. 

And spend out of what we 
Have provided for them; 27 

And who believe in the Revelation 
Sent to thee. 

And sent before thy time. 

And (in their hearts) 

Have the assurance of the 


/, ,V 

j " # *+ / * t ' • ; > . * i ■ r * 

rf3 aj* j 

' i** > - y ' /'■* * * * > ^ 

j l j 

' *«" J-,x /■> 

u uj^_y Lf-^j 
M ojiy 1 j uAi-s o* 

25. Iliesc are abbreviated letters, the on which a general discussion will 

he found in Appendix 1 {to he printed at the end of this Sura). 

The pari icu Jar letters, Al.M,, are found prefixed to this Sura, and Suras fit, xxix, 
xxx, xxxi and xxxii (six in all). 

Much has been written about the meaning of these tetters, but most of it is pure 

26. Ttiqwtii and the verbs and nouns connected with the root, signify: (f) the fear 
of Allah, which, according to the writer of Proverbs (i. 7) m the Old Testament, is die 
hegtnni ng of Wisdom; (2) restraint, or guarding one’s tongue, hand, and heart from evil. 
(5) hence righteousness, piety, good conduct. AH these ideas are implied: in die 
translation, only one or other of these ideas can he indicated, according to the context. 
See also xlviL 17; and Ixxiv. 56. n. 5808, 

27. All bounties proceed from Allah They may he physical gifts, r.g. food, clothing, 
houses, gardens, wealth, etc. or intangible gifts, e.g. t influence, power, birth and the 
opportunities flowing from if, health, talents, etc. or spiritual gifts* c\g.. insight into good 
and evil, understanding of men, the capacity for tove, etc. We are to use all in humility 
and moderation. But we are also to give out of every one of them something that 
contributes lo the well-being of others. We are to be neither ascetics nor luxurious 
sybarites, neither selfish misers nor thoughtless prodigals. 

28. Righteousness comes from a secure faith, from sincere devotion to Allah, and 
from unselfish service to Mon. 


7 - 

S.2 A .5-8 

— . J. 1 t 5^iJl 

**§ r ' 1 ’ 1 

5, They arc on (true guidance). 
From their Lord, and it is 

These who will prosper 


6. As to those who reject Faith. 

It is the same to them 
Whether thou warn them 

Or do not warn them; 

They will not believe, 

7. Allah hath set a seal 31 

On their hearts and on llieir 


And on their eyes is a veil; 

Great is the chastisement 

They (incur) 



8. Of the people there are some 

i 33 

who say: 

“We believe in Allah and the Last 


But they do not (really) believe. 

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" * 

3 r 



29. Prosperity must he taken as referring to all the kinds of bounty which we 
discussed in the note to ii. 3 above. The right use of one kind leads to an increase in 
that and other kinds, and that is prosperity 

30. Kafara, kufr * kafir, and derivative forms of the word, imply a deliberate rejection 
of Faith as opposed to a mistaken idea of Allah or faith, which is no! inconsistent with 
an earnest desire to see the truth. Where there is such desire, the grace and mercy of 
Allah gives guidance. But that guidance is not efficacious when it is deliberately rejected 
The consequence of the rejection is tha! the spiritual faculties become dead or impervious 
to better influences. See also n. 93 to ii. 88. 

31. All actions are referred to Allah. Therefore when we gel the penally of our 
deliberate sit), and our senses become impervious to good* the penalty is referred to the 
justice of Allah, 

32. The penally here is the opposite of the prosperity referred to in ii. 5. As we go down 
the path of sin. our penalty gathers momentum* just as goodness brings its own capacity 
for greater goodness, 

33. We now come to a third class of people, the hypocrites. They are untrue to 
themselves, and therefore their hearts are diseased (ii !()). The disease lends to spread, 
like all evil. They are curable hut if they harden their hearts, they soon pass into the 
category of those who deliberately reject light. 

if — ~ — \ — i — wm. — ? — i — S 

- 8 

S.2A.9-14 i. i J/JI r 5^1 by* 

<S§ . . -r . . _ . _ * &A 

Fain would they deceive 
Allah and those who believe, 

Bui they only deceive themselves. 
And realize (it) not! 

ill In their hearts is a disease; 

And Allah has increased their 

disease: 1 

And grievous is the chastisement 
They (incur), 

Because they lied (to themselves). 

11. When it is said to them: 

"Make nut mischief on the earth." 
They say: "We are only ones 
Thai put things right." 

12. Of a surety, they are the ones 
Who make mischief. 

But they realize (it) not. 35 

13. When tl is said to them: 

"Believe as the others believe:" 
They say: "Shall we believe 

As the fools believe?"-* 

Nay, of a surety they are the fools. 
But they do not know. 


4. When they meet those who believe. 

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34. Thu insincere man who thinks he can get the best of both worlds by 
compromising with good and evil only increases the disease of his heart, because he is 
not true to himself. Even the good which comes to him he can pervert to evil. So the 
rain which fills out the ear of com or lends fragrance to the rose also lends strength to 
the thorn or adds strength tit the poison of the deadly night -shade. 

35. Much mischief is caused (sometimes unwittingly) by people who think that they 
have a mission of peace, when they have not even a true perception of right and wrong. 
By iheir blind arrogance they depress the good and encourage the evil. 

36. This is another phase of the hypocrite and the cynic. "Faith.” he says, 'is good 
enough to fools." But his cynicism may be the greatest folly in the eyes of Allah. 

37. A deeper phase of insincerity is actual duplicity. Bur it never pays in the end. 
If we compare such a man to a trader, he loses in the bargain. 

- 9 - 

S.2 A. 14-19 

J. I JjVi .jJLl 

T iJiJl i 


They say: "We believe;” 

But when they are alone 
Willi their evil ones. 

They say: "We are really with you 
We (were) only jesting.” 

15. Allah will throw back 
Their mockery on them. 

And give them rope in 
Their trespasses; 

So they will wander like blind ones 
(To and fro). 

16. These are they who have bartered 
Guidance for error: 

But their traffic is profitless. 

And they have lost true direction. 

17. Their similitude is that of a man 
Who kindled a fire: 

When it lighted all around him. 
Allah took away their light 
And left them in utter darkness. 
So they could not see. 

18. Deaf, dumb, and blind. 

They will not return (to the path). 

19. Or (another similitude) 11 

Is that of a rain-laden cloud 



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38. 1'he man wanted light: he only kindled a fire. It produced a blaze, and won I he 
applause of all around. But it did not Iasi long. When the flame went out as was 
inevitable the darkness was worse than before. And they all lost their way. So hypocrisy, 
deception, arrogant compromise with evil, cynicism, or duplicity may win temporary 
applause But the true light of faith and sincerity is warning, and therefore it must mislead 
and rum all concerned In the consternation ihey cannot speak or hear each other, and 
of course they cannot see: vo they end like the deliberate rejecters of Faith (ii. 7), wildly 
groping about, dumb, deaf and blind, 

3V, \ wonderfully graphic and powerful simile applying to those who reject Faith. 

In then self-sufficiency they ore undisturbed normally . But whai happens when a great 
storm bleaks met them 1 Hicy cover their ears against thunder-daps, and the lightning = 

- If)- 

S.2 A. 19^21 

i i JjSli 

From the sky: in il lire /ones 
Of chirkness* and thunder and 


They press iheir fingers in their ears 
To keep out the stunning 


The while they are in terror of 


But Allah is ever round 
The rejecters of Faith! 

20. The lightning all hut snatches away 
Their sight: every time the light 
(Helps) them, they walk therein. 
And when the darkness grows on 


They stand still, 

And if Allah willed. He could lake 


Their faculty of hearing and seeing; 
For Allah hath power over all things. 


21, 0 ye people! 

Worship your Guardian Lord, 

Who created you 
And those who came before you 
Thai ye may become righteous, 411 

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= nearly blinds them. They arc in mortal fear, hut Allah encompasses them around -even 
them, for He at all times encompasses all. He gives them rope. In the intervals of 
deafening noise and blinding flashes, there are moments of steady light, and these 
creatures take advantage of them, hut again they are plunged into darkness. Perhaps they 
curse: perhaps they think that the few moments of effective light are due lo iheir own 
intelligence! How much wiser would they be if they humbled themselves and sought the 
light of Allah ! 

41). for Taqwa see ii. 2 n. 26. 1 connect this dependent clause with “ worship" above, 
though it could he connected with “created," According to my construction the argument 
will he as follows. Adoration is the act of the highest and humblest reverence and 
worship. When you get into that relationship with Allah. Who is your Creator and 
Guardian, your faith produces works of righteousness. It is a chance given you: will you 
lake it? If you do. your whole nature will be transformed. 

- II - 



Who has made the earth your couch. 
And the heavens your canopy; 

And sent down rain from the 


And brought forth therewith 
Fruits for your sustenance; 

Then set not up rivals 41 unto Allah 
When ye know (the truth). 

And if ye are in doubt 
As to what We have revealed 
From time to time to Our servant 
Then produce a Sura 
Like thereunto; 

And call your witnesses or helpers 
(If there are any) besides Allah, 

If ye are truthful' . 

But if ye cannol- 

And of a surely ye cannoi- 

Thcn fear the Fire 

Whose fuel is Men and S tones, - 

Which is prepared for those 

Who reject Faith . 43 

But give glad tidings 
To those who believe 
And work righteousness, 

That their portion is Gardens, 

O 'it* j 


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41. Further proofs of Allah’s goodness to you are given in this verse. Your whole 
life, physical and spiritual, depends upon Him. The spiritual ■% figured by the Canopy 
of Heaven. The truth has been brought plainly before you. Will you still resist it and 
go after false gods, the creation of your own fancy? The false gods may he idols, 
superstitions, self, or even great or glorious things like Poetry. An. or Science, when set 
up as rivals lo Allah. They may be pride of race, pride of birth, pride of wealth or 
position, pride of power, pride of learning, or even spiritual pride. 

42. How do we know that there is revelation, and that it is from Allah? Here is 
a concrete test. The Teacher of Allah's Truth has placed before you many Suras, Can 
you produce one like it? [f there is any one besides Allah, who can inspire spiritual truth 
in such noble language, produce your evidence. Or is it that your doubts are merely 
argumentative, refractory, against your own inner light, or conscience? All true revelation 
is itself a miracle, and stands on its own merits. 

43. According to commentators the "Stones" mentioned in this verse refer to the 
idols which the polytheists worshipped. Thus, far from coming to the aid of their 
worshippers, the false gods would he a means of aggravating their torment. 

' r v'- • r v 

- 12 - 

S.2 A. .2506 

Y o »L]I * i **- 

Beneath which rivers flow. 

Every time they are fed 
With fruits therefrom. 

They say: “Why, this is 
What we were fed with before. ” 
For they are given things in 


And they have therein 
Spouses purified 44 ; 

And they abide therein (for ever). 

26, Allah disdains not to use 
The similitude of things. 

Even of a gnat 45 as well as 

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44. What can be mure delightful than a Garden where you observe from a 
picturesque height a beautiful landscape round you, -rivers flowing with crystal water and 
fruit trees of which the choicest fruit is before you* The fruit of goodness is goodness, 
similar, but choicer in every degree of ascent. You think it is the same, hut it is because 
of your past experiences and associations of memory. 

45. The word gnat, a byword in the Arabic language for the weakest of creatures. 

In xxix. 4L which was revealed before this Sura, the similitude of the Spider was used, 
and similarly in xxii. 73, there is the similitude of the Fly. For similitudes taken ftom 
magnificent forces of nature, expressed in exalted language, see ii. 19 above. To Allah 
all His creation has some special meaning appropriate to itself, and some of what wc 
consider the lowest creatures have wonderful aptitudes, e.g.. the spider or the fly. 
Parables like these may be an occasion of stumbling to ihose "who forsake the path": 
in other words those who deliberately shut I heir eyes to Allah's Signs, and their Penalty 
is attributed to Allah. But lest there should be misunderstanding, it is Immediately added 
that the stumbling and offence only occur as the result of the sinner's own choice of the 
wrong course. Verses 26 and 27 form one sentence and should be read together. 
"Forsaking the path" is defined in ii. 27; viz., breaking solemn covenants which the 
sinner's own soul had ratified, causing division among mankind, who were meant to he 
one brotherhood, and doing as much mischief as possible in the life on this earth, for 
the life beyond will be on another plane, where no rope will he given to evil. 

The mention of the Covenant (ii. 27} has a particular and a general signification. The 
particular one has reference to the Jewish tradition that a Covenant was entered into with 
"Father Abraham" that m return for Allah's favours the seed of Abraham would serve 
Allah faithfully. But as a matter of fact a great part of Abraham's progeny were in 
constant spiritual rebellion against Allah, as is testified by their own Prophets and 
Preachers and by Muhammad Al-Mustafa, The general signification is that a similar 
Covenant is entered into by every creature of Allah; for Allah's loving care, wc at least 
owe him the fullest gratitude and willing obedience. The Sinner, before he darkens Iris 
own conscience, knows this, and yet he not only "forsakes the path" but resists the Grace 
of Allah which comes to save him. That is why his case becomes hopeless. But the loss 
is his own. He cannot spoil Allah's design. The good man is glad to retrace his steps 
from any lapses of which he may have been guilty, and in his case Allah's Message 
reclaims him with complete understanding. 

T.' fift JyV iy£ r/V *y , S'JV jyi TyV JyV Jy'V I yfc i ■fy* AA - V 1 Jy'V Jyl, J v t 

- 13 - 

S.2 A, 26- 29 


j* 1 JiVl T 


Anything above it. 

Those who believe know' 

That it is the truth from their Lord: 
But those who reject Faith say: 
"What Means Allah by this 

similitude? 11 

By it He causes many to stray. 

And many He leads into the right 


But He causes not io stray. 

Except those who forsake 

(the path),- 

27* Those who break Allah's Covenant 
After it is ratified. 

And who sunder what Allah 
Has ordered to be joined. 

And do mischief on earth: 

These cause loss (only) to 


28. How can ye reject 46 
The faith in Allah?- 

Seeing that ye were without life. 
And I le gave you life; 

Then will l le cause you to die. 

And will again bring you to life; 
And again to Him will ye return* 

29. It is lie Who hath created for you 
All things that are on earth; 

Then He turned to the heaven 

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46. In the preceding verses Allah lias used various arguments. He has recalled His 
goodness (ii, 21-22): resolved doubts (ii. 23); plainly set forth the penalty of wrong-doing 
(it. 24); given glad tidings (ii 2?): shown how misunderstandings arise from a deliberate 
rejection of the light and breach of the Covenant (ii. 26-27), Now (ii. 2H-29) He pleads 
with Hts creatures and appeals to their own subjective feelings. He brought you into 
being. The mysteries of life and death arc in His hands. When you die on this earth, 
that is not the end. You were of Him and you must return to Him. Look around you 
and realize your own dignity: it is from Him. The immeasurable depths of space above 
and around you may stagger you. They are pari of His plan. What you have imagined 
us the seven firmaments (and any other scheme you may construct) hears witness to His 
design of order and perfection for His knowledge (unlike yours) alt-comprehending. 
And yet will you deliberately reject or obscure or deaden the faculty of Faith which has 
been put into you? 


Jyl f yl Jyt iT^ti Jyfi 

- 14 - 

S.2 A.29-31 J. I JjV» »>L.I T ijiJl iy- 

JJ .... ■■■■ ■■ ■■■■: ■- *' 

And made them into seven 


And of all things 

He hath perfect knowledge. 


Behold, thy Lord said to the 

angels; **l will create 
A vicegerent on earth/' They said: 
“Wilt Thou place therein one who 

will make 

Mischief therein and shed blood?- 
Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises 
And glorify Thy holy (name)?" 

He said: “1 know what ve know 



And He taught Adam the names 
Of all things; then He placed them 

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47, It would seem that the angels* though Holy and pure, and endued with power 
from Allah, yet represented only one side of Creation. We may imagine them without 
passion or emotion, of which the highest flower is love. If man was to be endued with 
emotions, those emotions could lead him to the highest and drag him to the lowest. The 
power of will or choosing would have to go with them, in order that man mighl steer 
his own bark. This power of will (when used aright) gave him to some extent a mastery 
over his own fortunes and over nature, thus bringing him nearer to the God-like nature, 
which has supreme mastery and will. We may suppose the angels had no independent 
wills of their own: rheir perfection in other ways reflected Allah’s perfection but could 
not raise them to the dignity of vieegereney. The perfect vicegerent is he who has the 
power of initiative himself, hui whose independent action always reflects perfectly the will 
of his Principal. The distinction is expressed by Shakespeare (Sonnet 94) in those fine 
lines: “They are the lords and owners of their faces. Others but stewards of rheir 
excellence/' The angels in their one-sidedness saw only the mischief consequent on the 
misuse of the emotional nature by man: perhaps they also, being without emotions, did 
not understand the whole of Allah's nature, which gives and asks for love. In humility 
and true devotion to Allah, they remonstrate: we must not imagine the least tinge of 
jealousy, as they are without emotion This mystery of love being above them, they are 
told that they do not know, and they acknowledge (in ii, 32 below) not their fault (for 
there is no question of fault) hui their imperfection of knowledge. At the same time, the 
matter is brought home to them when the actual capacities of man are shown to them 
(ti. 31.33). 

48. “The names of things:” according to commentators means the inner nature and 
qualities of things, and things here would include feelings. The particular qualities or feelings 
which were outside the nature of angels were put by Allah into the nature of man Man 
was thus able to love and understand love* and thus plan and initiate, as becomes the 



V^v 1^' ^ Jyf “ f* - ^ fv' *vS i' v x hit iv'v Jyt gTyi ^t y/t Syt, Jyi Jyt Jyt JyT 

* 15 - 

Before the angels, and said: "Tell 


The names of these if ye are right/' 

32, They said: "Glory to Thee: of 


We have none, save what Thou 
l last taught us: in truth it is Thou 
Who art perfect in knowledge and 


1 33. He said: "O Adam* tell them 
Their names/’ When he had told 

them their names, 
Allah said: "Did 1 not tell you 
That I know the secrets of heaven 
And earth, and I know what ye 


And what ye conceal?** 

34. And behold. We said to the angels: 
"Bow down to Adam/’ and they 

bowed down: 

Not so lblfs: 4 ^ he refused and was 


He was of those who reject Faith, 

35. And We said: "O Adam! dwell 


And thy wife in the Garden:** 

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= office of vicegerent. The angels acknowledged this. These things they could only know 
from the outside, but they had faith, or belief in the Unseen. And they knew that Allah 
saw alf-whut others see, what others do not see, what others may even wish to conceal, 
Man has many qualities which are latent or which he may wish to suppress or conceal* 
to his own detriment, 

49. The Arabic may also be translated: “They bowed down* except I hi is/’ In that 
case Iblis (Satan) would be one of the angels. But the theory of fallen angels is not 
accepted in Muslim theology. In xvin, 50, I bits is spoken of as a Jinn, Wc shall discuss 
later the meaning of this word 

51 h Was the Garden of Eden a place on this earth? Obviously not. For* in verse 3b 
below* it was after the Fall that the sentence was pronounced: ,+ On earth will be your 
dwelling-place*** before the Fall* we must suppose Man to be on another plane 
altogether-of felicity, innocence, trust, a spiritual existence, with the negation of enmity, 
want of faith* and all evil. 

- 16 - 

J. 1 JjVl.jJH TJjiJlijv- 

■ : mMMmmmmi 

Anti cat of the bountiful tilings 


As (where anti when) ye will; bin 
approach not this tree. 
Or ye run into harm and 


36, Then did Satan''' make them slip 
From the (Garden)* and get them 


Of the state (of felicity) in which 
They had been. And We said: 

"Gel ye down, all (ye people"), 
VVtiii enmity between yourselves. 

On earth will be your dwelling 


And your means of livelihood"- 
For a lime? 

37. Then learnt Adam from his Lord 
Certain words' and his Lord 
Turned towards him; for He 

Is Of i- Returning, Most Merciful. 

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5L "Zu/m" in Arabic implies harm, wrong, injustice, or transgression, and may have 
reference to oneself; when the wrong is done to others u implies tyranny and oppression; 
the idea of wrong naturally connects itself with darkness, which is another shade of 
meaning carried with the root word. 

52. The word Ihlls in the verse 34 above is derived from the root idea of 
desperateness or rebellion whereas "Satan" conveys the idea of perversity or enmity. Note 
the appropriateness of the term on each occasion. Also, "slipping" from the Garden 
denotes the idea of evil gradually tempting man from a higher to a lower state. 

53. Note ihc transition in Arabic from the singular number in ii. 33. to ihe dual in 
ii. 35, and the plural here, which 1 have indicated in English by "All ye people." 
Evidently Adam is the type of all mankind, and the sexes go together in all spiritual 
matters. Moreover, the expulsion applied to Adam. Eve, and Satan, and the Arabic plural 
is appropriate for any number greater than two, 

54. Man's sojourn in this lower state, where he is partly an animal of this earth, is 
for a time. Bui he must fulfil his lower duties also, for they too are a part of his spiritual 

55. As “names” In verse 31 above is used for the "nature of things", so "words" 
here mean "inspiration," The Arabic wind used for “learn” here implies some effort on 
his part, to which Allah's Grace responded. 

- 17 - 

$,2 A, 38-40 

J. 1 J jVl 



We said: “Get ye down all from 


And if, as is sure, there comes to you 
Guidance from Me, 5 *’ whosoever 
Follows My guidance, on them 
Shall he no fear, nor shall they 


“But those who reject Faith 
And belie Our Signs, 

They shall be Companions of the 


They shall abide therein/ 07 

t) Children of Israel! call to mind 
The (special) favour which I 


Upon you, and fulfil your 


tS \ if* 3 L? A& 

ii/j'Jd <Zr*lzs~i 


The Arabic word for 'Repentance” | 'tauba) means “turning," and die intensive word 
(lauwilb) for Allah's forgiveness (“Oft -Returning" or "Ever- Returning') is from the same 
root. Fur repentance, three things are necessary: the sinner must acknowledge his wrong; 
he must give it up; and he must resolve to eschew it for the future. Man's nature is weak, 
and he may have to return again and again for mercy. So lung as he does it sincerely, 
Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful For Mis grace helps out the sinner’s shortcomings. 

56. Note the transition from the plural “We” at the beginning of tire verse to the 
singular “Me" later in the same verse. Allah speaks of Himself usually in the first person 
plural We": il is the plural of respect and honour and is used in human language in 
Royal proclamations and decrees. Rut where a special personal relationship is expressed 
the singular, 'T‘ or “Me" is used Cf. xxvi 51. etc. 

In spite of Man s fall, and in consequence of it, assurance of guidance is given. In 
ease man follows the guidance he is free from any fear for the present or the future, 
and any grief or sorrow for the past. The soul thus freed grows nearer to Allah. 

57. As their rejection of faith was deliberate and definite, so the consequences must 
he a punishment of an abiding character. 

58. The appeal is made to Israel subjectively in terms of their own tradition. You 
claim to be a favoured nation: have you forgotten My favours? You claim a special 
Covenant with Me: I have fulfilled My part of the Covenant by bringing you out of the 
land of bondage and giving you Canaan, the land “flowing with milk and honey": how 
have you fulfilled your part of the Covenant? Do you fear for your national existence? 
If you fear Me, nothing else will matter. 

- 18 * 

S.2 A. 40-45 

J, l JjVt *3^' 

T i/Jl 

With Me and 1 shall fulfil My 


With you, and fear none but Me. 


41. And believe in whnl ! reveal/ 9 
Confirming the revelation 
Which is with you. 

And be not the first to reject 
Faitli therein, nor sell My Signs 
For a small price; and fear Me, 
And Me alone. 

% fa 

42, And cover not Truth 

With falsehood, nor conceal 
The Truth when ye know 

(what ii is). 

43. And be steadfast in prayer: 

Give Zakat. 

And bow down your heads m 
With those who bow down 

(in worship). 

£* 4 ' ly'*j 

44. Do ye enjoin right conduct 
On the people, and forget 
(To practise it) yourselves. 

And yet ye study the Scripture? 
Will ye not understand? 

k 45. Nay, seek (Allah's) help 
With patient perseverance* 1 

59. You received revelations before: now comes one confirming it its first appeal 
should he to you: are you to he the first to reject it? And reject it ior what? Allah’s 
Signs arc worth more than all your paltry consideration v And the standard of duty and 
righteousness is to he taken from Allah, and not from priests and customs. 

3 1 

60, The argument is still primarily addressed to the Jews, but is of universal 
application, ns in nil the teachings of the Qur-aii. The chief feature of Jewish worship 
< was and is the bowing of the head. 

61, The Arabic word Sahr implies many shades of meaning, which it is impossible 
to comprehend in one English word. It implies ( t ) patience in the sense of he i tig 
thorough, not hasty; (2) patient perseverance, constancy, steadfastness, firmness of 
j purpose: (3) systematic as opposed to spasmodic or chance action; (4) a cheerful altitude 

of resignation and understanding in sorrow, defeat, or suffering, as opposed to murmuring 
or rebellion, but saved from mere passivity or hstlessness. hy the element of constancy 
J or steadfastness. 




















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- 19 - 

And prayer: 

It is indeed hard, except 
To those who are humble* 

46. Who bear in mind the certainly 
That they arc to meet their Lord, 
And that they are to return to Him. 


47. O Children of Israel! call to mind 
The (special) favour which 1 


Upon you* 2 and that I preferred 


To all others. 

48. Then guard yourselves against a day 
When one soul shall not avail 


Nor shall intercession be accepted 

for her* 

Nor shall compensation he taken 

from her. 

Nor shall any one he helped 

(from outside).** 

49. And remember, We delivered you 
From the people of Pharaoh: they 

set you 

Hard tasks and chastisement, 


f*r ' ' 



62. These words are recapitulated from ii. 40, which introduced a general account 
of Allah's favours to Israel; now we are introduced to a particular account of incidents 
in Israel's history. Each incident is introduced by the Arabic words *7V‘ which is 
indicated in the translation by '“Remember.” 

63. Before passing to particular incidents, the conclusion is stated. Be on your guard: 
do not think that special favours exempt you from the personal responsibility of each soul. 

TvT mZ% 

- 20 - 


A .49-52 

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Your sons and let your women folk 

live; 64 

Therein was a tremendous trial 

from your Lord 

1 50. And remember We divided 

The Sea for you and saved you 
And drowned Pharaoh’s people 
Within your very sight/' 5 

51. And remember Wc appointed 
Forty nights for Moses* 66 
And in his absence ye took 
The calf (for worship)* 

And ye did grievous wrong* 

52, Even then Wc did forgive you* 67 
There was a chance for you 

To be grateful. 

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64. The bondage of Egypt was indeed u tremendous trial. Even the Egyptians 1 wish 
to spare the lives of Israel’s females when the males were slaughtered, added to the 
bitterness of Israel Their hatred was cruel, but their 11 love*' was still more cruel. About 
the hard tasks* sec Exod. i. 14: "They made their lives hitter with hard bondage* in 
mortar and in brick* ami in all manner of service in the tie Id: all their service* wherein 
they made them serve, was with rigour/' Pharaoh’s taskmasters gave no straw, yet 
ordered the Israelites to make brieks without straw: Exod. v, 5-19. Pharaoh's decree was: 
“Every son that is bom ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive": 
Exod t. 22 [| was in consequence of this decree that Moses was hidden three months 
after he was born, and when he could be hidden no longer* he was pul into an ark of 
bulrushes and cast into the Nile, where he was found by Pharaoh's daughter and wife 
(xxviti. 9)* and adopted into the family: Exod* u. 2- Ml Cf. xx. 37-40. Thus Moses was 
brought up by the enemies of his people. Me was chosen by Allah to deliver his people* 
and Allah's wisdom made the learning and experience and even cruellies of the Egyptian 
enemies themselves to contribute to the salvation of his people* 

65* When the Israelites at Iasi escaped from Egypt, they were pursued by Pharaoh 
and his host. By a miracle the Israelites crossed the Red Sea* but the host of Pharaoh 
was drowned: Exod. xjv, 5-31. 

66. This was after the Ten Commandments and the Laws and Ordinances had been 
given on Mount Sinai: Moses was asked up into the Mount, and he was there forty days 
and forty nights: Exod. xxiv. 18. But the people got impatient of the delay, made a calf 
of melted gold, and offered worship and sacrifice to it: Exod. xxxii, 1-K, 

67. Moses prayed for his people, and Allah forgave them. This is the language of 
the Qur-an* The Old Testament version is rougher: “The Lord repented of Ihe evil which 
He thought to do unto His people": Exod. xxxii. 14. The Muslim position has always 
been that the Jewish (and Christian) scriptures as they stand cannot be traced direct to 




* 2 ! - 

S. 2 A, 53-54 

J. 1 JjVt 

r s jjJi 


And remember We gave 
Moses die Scripture and the 

Criterion 68 

(Between right and wrong), there was 
A chance for you to be guided aright 

And remember Moses said 
To iiis people: "O my people! 

Ye have indeed wronged 
Yourselves by your worship of (lie 


So turn (in repentance) to your 


And slay yourselves (the 

wrong-doers) ; w 
That will be better for you 
In the sight of vour Maker.” 

Then lie turned towards you (in 


For He is Oft-Returning, Most 



iS^y 1 J ^ y \j 

Moses or Jesus, hut are later com pi la lions. Modern scholarship and Higher Criticism has 
!efl no doubt on the subject But the stories in these traditional books may be used in 
an appeal to those who use them: only they should be spiritualized, as they arc here, 
and especially in it. 54 below. 

68. Allah's revelation, ihe expression of Allah’s Will, is the true standard of right 
and wrong. It may be in a Book or in Allah's dealings in history All these may be called 
His Signs or Miracles. In this passage some commentators take the Scripture and the 
Criterion (Furqan) to be identical. Others hike iliem to he two disiinci \ lungs: Scripture 
being the written Book and the Criterion being other Signs. 1 agree with Ihe little r view. 
The word Furqan also occurs in xxi. 48 in connection with Moses and Aaron and in the 
first verse of Sura x\s as well as in its title, in connection with Muhammad As Aaron 
received no Hook, Furqan must mean the other Signs, A I- Mustafa had both the Books 
and the other Signs: perhaps here too we take the other Signs as supplementing Ihe Book, 
Cf, Wordsworth's 11 Arbiter undisturbed of right and wrong.” (Prelude, Book 4), 

69. Moses's speech may be construed literally, as translated, in which case it 
reproduces Fxod. xxxii. 27^28 but in a much softened form, for the Old Testament says: 
*‘CJo in and out from gate lo gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, 
and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour... and there fell of the people 
that day 3,000 men.” 

The word here translated Maker \Btlri | has also in it a touch of the root-meaning 
of “liberator,"— an apt word as referring to the Israelites, who had just been liberated 
from bondage in Egypt* 

- 22 - 

S.2A.55-58 J. t JjVW>U Yi/Lllyj- 

I i i m# 

55. And remember ye said: 7 “O Moses! 
We shall never believe in thee 
Until we see Allah manifestly," 

The re upon thunderbolt 
Seized you. 

56. Then We raised you up 
After your death; 

Ye had the chance 
To he grateful. 

57. And We gave you the shade of 


And sent down to you 
Manna 1 and quails, saying: 

“Eat of the good things 
We have provided for you:" 

(But they rebelled); 

To Us they did no harm. 

But they harmed their own selves 

58. And remember We said: 

“Enter this town, and eat 

B Sjjs3 

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70. We have hitherto had instances from the Jewish traditional tv it nit (or 
Pentateuch)* Now wc have some instances from Jewish traditions in the Talmud, or body 
of exposition in the Jewish theological schools. They are based on the Jewish scriptures, 
hut add many marvellous details and homilies. As to seeing Allah, we have in I xod. 
xxx Hi, 21): “And He said. Thou const not see My face; for there shall no man see Me 
and live." The punishment for insisting on seeing Allah was therefore death: hut those 
who rejected faith were forgiven, and yet they were ungrateful 

71. Manna = Hebrew, \tan~hu: Arabic St&~huwa? = What is it? In lixod xvi 14 
it is described as "a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground," It 
usually rotted if left over till next day; it melted in the hot sun; the amount necessary 
for each man was about an Omer. a Hebrew measure of capacity equal to about 2 }r 2 
quarts. This is the Hebrew account, probably distorted by traditional exaggeration. The 
actual Manna found to this day in the Smai tegion is a gummy saccharine secretion found 
on a species of Tamarisk, it is produced by the puncture of a species of insect like die 
cochineal, just as lac is produced by the puncture of the lac insect on certain trees in 
India. As to quails, large flights of them are driven by winds in the Eastern 
Mediterranean in certain seasons of the year, as War witnessed during the (ire at War 
of 1914-1918. 

72. This probably refers to Shittim. It was the “town of acacias." just cast of the 
Jordan, where the Israelites were guilty of debauchery and the worship of and sacrifices 
to false gods, (Num. xxv, 1-2, also K-9); a terrible punishment ensued, including the 
plague, of which 24, QUO died. The word which the transgressors changed may have been 


* 23 * 

S.2 A .58-60 

J. I JjVl 0^-1 

T y ~~r ’ 


Of the plenty therein 
As ye wish; and enter 
The gate prostrating* 

And say: Forgive (us) 

We shall forgive you your faults 
And increase (the portion of) 

Those who do good." 

But the transgressors 
Changed the word from that 
Which had been given them; 

So We sent on the transgressors 
A plague from heaven* 

For that they infringed 
(Our command) repeatedly. 


And remember Moses prayed 
For water for his people; 

We said: "Strike the rock 

With thy staff*" Then gushed forth 

Therefrom twelve springs. 

Each group ' knew its own place 
For water* So eat and drink 
Of the sustenance provided by Allah* 
And do no evil nor mischief 
On the (face of the) earth. 



t - * ^ * .* t v * ^ ^ m ff s s- ^ * * 

[zl i \ O J — >=jSj VS \ - 

— a puss -word. In the Arabic tevi it is "Hittatitn" which implies humility and a prayer of 
forgiveness, a fitting emblem to distinguish them from then enemies. From this particular 
incident a more general lesson may he drawn: in the Iuhii of triumph we are to behave 
humbly as in Allairs sight, and our conduct should be exemplary according to Allah's 
word: otherwise our arrogance will draw its own punishment. 

These verses 58-59* may be compared with vii* 161-162* There are two verbal 
differences* Here (ii, 58) we have ' 'enter the town** and in vii, 16! wc have “dwell in 
this town/* Again in ii. 59 here we have “infringed (Our command).'* and in vii. 162, 
we have “transgressed.*’ The verbal differences make no difference to the sense. 

73 Here we have a reference to the tribal organization of the Jews, which played a 
great part in their forty years' march through the Arabian deserts (Nairn i and ii) and 
their subsequent settlement in the land of Canaan (Josh, xiu. and xiv,). The twelve tribes 
were derived from the sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel (soldier of Allah) 
after he had wrestled, says Jewish tradition, with Allah (Genesis xxxii, 28). Israel had 
twelve sons (Gen. xxxv. 22-2b), including Levi and Joseph. The descendants of these 

-24 - 

S.2 A. 61 

J. 1 


61. And remember ye said: 

“O Moses* we cannot endure 
One kind of food (always); 

So beseech thy Lord For us 
To produce for us of what the earth 
Groweth,-its pot-herbs. and 


Its garlic, lentils, and onions. 1 ' 

He said; “Will ye exchange 
The better for the worse? 

Go ye down to any town, 74 
And ye shall find what ye want!" 

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twelve si ms were the * ’Children of Israel./ 1 Levi’s family got the priesthood and the care 
of the Tabernacle ; they were exempted from military duties, for which the census was 
taken (Mum. i. 47-53), and therefore from the distribution of l and in Canaan (Josh. xiv. 

3): they were distributed among all the Tribes, and were really a privileged caste and 
not numbered among the Tribes; Moses and Aaron belonged to the house of Levi. On 
the other hand Joseph, on account of the high position to which he rose in Egypt as 
the Pharaoh's minister, was the progenitor of two tribes, one in the name of each of his 
two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. Thus there were twelve Tribes in all, as Levi was cut 
out and Joseph represented two tribes. Their having fixed stations and watering places 
in camp and fixed territorial areas later in the Promised Land prevented confusion and 
mutual jealousies and is pointed to as an evidence of ihe Providence of Allah acting 
through His Prophet Moses. Cf. also vii. 160. 

The gushing of twelve springs from a rock evidently refers to a local tradition well 
known to Jews and Arabs in Al-Musjafa's time. Near March close to Mount Sinai, where 
the Law was given to Moses, is a huge mass of red granite, twelve feet high and about 
fifty feel in circumference, where European travellers (e.g,, Hreydeiibneh in the 1 5th 
Century after Christ) saw abundant springs of water twelve in number (see Sale's notes 
on this passage). It existed in Al- Mustafa's lime and may still exist to the present day, 
for anything we know to the contrary. The Jewish tradition would be based on Exod. 
xvii* 6: "Thou shah smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it that the people 
may drink." 

The story is used as a parable, as is clear from the latter part of the verse. In the 
desolation anil among the rocks of this life people grumble. But they will not he left 
starving or thirsty of spiritual life. Allah's Messenger can provide abundant spiritual 
sustenance even from such unpromising things as the hard rocks of life. And all the 
nations can be grouped round it, each different, yet each in perfect order and discipline. 

We are to use with gratitude all spiritual food and drink provided by Allah, and He 
sometimes provides from unexpected places We must restrain ourselves from mischief, 
pride, and every kind of evil, for our higher life is based on our probation on this very 

74, The declension of the word in the Arabic text here shows that it is treated 
as a common noun meaning any town, but Ibis is not conclusive, and the reference rnav 
he to the Egypt of Pharaoh. The Tannin expressing indefimteness may mean "any 
Egypt”. j,i\, any country as fertile as Egypt. There is here a subtle reminiscence as well — I 

* 25 - 

Y OjjkJl ajjjp ** 

They were covered with 


Ami misery: they drew 
On themselves the wrath of Allah, 
This because they went on 
Rejecting the Signs of Allah 
And slaying His Messengers 
Without just cause* 

This because they rebelled 
And went on transgressing. 


62. Those who believe (in the Qur-an). 
And those who follow the Jewish 


;is m severe reproach. The rebellious children of Israel murmured at the sameness of the 
food they got in the desert. They were evidently hankering after the delicacies of the 
Egypt winch they had left* although they should have known that the only thing certain 
for them in Egypt was their bondage and harsh treatment. Moses’s reproach to them was 
twofold; (1) Such variety of foods you can get in any town: would you* for their sake, 
sell your freedom? Is not freedom better than delicate food? (2) In from is the rich 
Promised Land, which you are reluctant to march to; behind is Egypt* the land of 
bondage. Which is better? Would you exchange the better for the worse? 

75. From here the argument becomes more general. They got the Promised Land 
But they continued to rebel against Allah* And their humiliation and misery became a 
national disaster. They were carried in captivity to Assyria. They were restored under the 
Persians, but still remained under the Persian yoke, and they were under the yoke of 
the Greeks, the Romans, and Arabs. They were scattered ail over the earth, and have 
been a wandering people ever since* because they rejected faith* slew Allah's messengers, 
and went on transgressing. 

The slaying of the Prophets begin with the murder of Abel, who was in the ancestry 
of Israel. The elder sons of Jacob attempted the murder ol Joseph when they dropped 
him into the well, and if he was afterwards rescued by strangers* their blood-guilt was 
none the less* In later history they attempted to slay Jesus, in as much ns they got the 
Roman Governor to crucify one in his likeness, and they attempted to take the life of 

But the moral goes wider than the Children of tsreal, It applies to all nations and 
all individuals. If they are stiff-necked* if they set a greater value on perishable goods 
than on freedom and eternal salvation, if they break the law of Allah and resist His grace* 
their portion must be humiliation and misery in the spiritual world and probably even 
on this earth if a long view is taken. 

• iyt Xyt *y£. -y. JyTSi « JyL » y- JyC *y-j * v 

- 26 - 


Any who believe in Allah 
And the Last Day, 

And work righteousness. 

Shall have I heir reward 
With their Lord on them 
Shall be no fear, nor shall they 


76. Latest researches have revealed a small remnant of a religious community 
numbering about 2,(XMJ souls in Lower IrSq, near Basra hi Arabic they are called Subht 
(plural Subha). They are also called Sabi a ns and Naso means. or Mandaeans, or Christians 
of St. John They claim to he Gnostics, or Knowcrs of the Great Life. They dress in 
white, and believe in frequent immersions in water. Their Book Ginza is in a dialect of 
Aramaic. They have theories of Darkness and l ight as in Zoroastrianism. They use the 
name Vardan ( Jordan ) for any river They live in peace and harmony among their Muslim 
neighbours. They resemble the Sabi- un mentioned in the Gur-an, but are not probably 
identical with them. 

The pscudo-Sabians of Harran, who attracted the attention of Khalifa Mumtm-a] 
Rashid in 830 A. 13 by their long hair and peculiar dress probably adopted the name as 
it was mentioned in the Our- an, in order to claim the privileges of the People of the 
Book. They were Syrian Star-worshippers with Hellenistic tendencies, like the Jews 
contemporary with Jesus. 

There was another people called the Sahaens. who played an important part in the 
history of early Arabia, and are known through their inscriptions in an alphabet allied 
to the Phoenician and the Babylonian They had a flourishing kingdom in ihe Yemen tract 
in South Arabia about 8(10-70(1 H.<\, though their origin may have been in North Arabia. 
They worshipped the planets and stars (Moon, Sun, Venus). Probably the Queen of Sheba 
is connected with them. They succumbed to Abyssinia about 35b A D and to Persia 
□bout 579 A,D. Thdir capital was near SairiL They had beautiful stone buildings, in which 
the pointed arch is noticeable. C/. v. 69 and n. 779. (Sec b IL on Sabaeans.). 

77, Cf. ii, 3H, where the same phrase occurs. And il recurs again and again 

The point of the verse is that Islam does not teach an exclusive doctrine, and is not 
meant exclusively for one people. The Jews claimed this for themselves, and the 
Christians in their origin were a sect of the Jews. Even the modern organized Christian 
churches,, though they have been, consciously or unconsciously, influenced by the Time- 
spirit, including the historical fact of Islam, yet cling to the idea of Vicarious Atonement, 
which means that all who do not believe in it or who lived previously to the death of 
Christ arc ai a disadvantage spiritually before the Throne of Allah, The attitude of Islam 
is entirely different Islam existed before the preaching of Muhammad on this earth: the 
Qur-an expressly calls Abraham a Muslim (Lit. 67). Its teaching (submission to Allah's 
wilt) has been and wilt be the teaching of Religion for all time and for all peoples. 


- 27 - 

S.2 A, 63 -67 

J. 1 JjVl tji-\ 


66 . 


And remember We took 

Your Covenant 

And We raised above you 

The Mount (Sinai ) 7K 

(Saying): "Hold firmly 

To what We have given you 

And bring (ever) to remembrance 

What is therein: 

Perchance ye may tear Allah/' 

But ye turned back thereafter: 
Had it not been for the Grace 
And Mercy of Allah to you 
Ye had surely been 
Among the lost. 

And well ye knew 

Those amongst you 

Who transgressed 

In the matter of the Sabbath: 

We said to them: 

"Be ye apes. 

Despised and rejected/' J 

So We made tt an example 
To their own time 
And to their posterity. 

And a lesson 

To those who fear Allah. 

And remember Moses said 
To his people: "Allah commands 

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78. The Mountain of Sinai {Ttlr-u-Sinin), a prominent mountain in the Arabian 
desert, in the peninsula between the two arms of the Red Sea. Here the Ten 
Commandments and the Law were given to Moses. Hence it is now called the Mountain 
of Moses (Jahtil Mum), The Israelites encamped at the foot of it for nearly a year The 
Covenant was taken from them under many portents (Exod. xix, 5. 8. 16. 18), which are 
described in Jewish tradition in great detail. 

79. The punishment for breach of the Sabbath under the Mosaic law was death. 
“Every one that defileth ii (the Sabbath) shall surely be put to death: for whosoever 
doc tli any work therein, that soul shall he cut off from among his people": (Exod. xxxi. 
14). There must have been a Jewish tradition about a whole fishing community in a 
seaside town, which persisted in breaking the Sabbath and were turned into apes: cf. viL 
1 63-166 

- 28 - 

8.2 A. 67-70 

J. 1 JjVU;JL| 

X ' 0j^V-“ 

That ye sacrifice a heifer. 1 
Tlicy said: “ Makes! thou 
A laughing-stock of us?” 

He said: “Allah save me 
From being an ignorant (foot).!** 

68. They said: “Beseech on our behalf 
Thy Lord to make plain to us 
What (heifer) it isf“ 

He said: “He says: the heifer 
Should be neither too old 
Nor too young, but of middling 
Age: now do what ye are 


| 69. They said: “Beseech on our behalf 
Thy Lord to make plain to us 
Her colour.* 4 He said: "He says: 

A fawn-coloured heifer. 

Pure and rich in tone, 

The admiration of beholders 

70. They said: "Beseech on our behalf 
Thy Lord to make plain to us 
What she is: to us are all heifers 
Alike: we wish indeed for guidance 
If Allah wills.” 



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jJifaCu I j is 

HO This story or parable of the heifer m ii. 67-71 should be read with the parable 

of the dead man brought to life in ti. 72-73. The stories were accepted in Jewish 

traditions, which are themselves based on certain sacrificial directions in the Old 
Testament. The heifer story of Jewish tradition is based on Num, xix. Ml), in which 
Moses and Aaron ordered the Israelites to sacrifice a red heifer without spot or blemish; 
her body was to be burin and the ashes were to be kept for the purification of the 

congregation from sin The parable of the dead man we shall refer to later 

Ihe lesson of the heifer parable is plain Moses announced the sacrifice to the 
Israelites, and they treated it as a jest. When Moses continued solemnly to ask for the 
sacrifice, they put him off on one pretext and another, asking a number of questions which 
they could have answered themselves if they had listened to Moscs\ directions. Their 
questions were carping criticisms rather than the result of a desire for information. It was 
a mere thin pretence that they were genuinely seeking for guidance. When at last they 
were driven into a corner, they made the sacrifice, but the will was wanting, which would 
have made the sacrifice efficacious for purification from sin The real reason for their 
prevarications was their guilty conscience, as vve see in the parable of the dead man (it. 

- 29 - 

S. 2 A, 71-74 

i. 1 JjVl 

t IJU\ 

7L He said; M He says: a heifer 
Not trained to till the soil 
Or water the fields; sound 
And without blemish/ 1 They said: 
“Now hast thou brought 
The truth/' Then they offered 
Her in sacrifice. 

And they scarcely did it. 


72. Remember ye slew a man 81 
And fell into a dispute 

Among yourselves as to the crime: 
But Allah was to bring forth 
What ye did hide. 

73. So We said: “Strike the (body) 
With a piece of the (heifer)/' 

Thus Allah bringeth the dead 

To life and showelh you His Signs: 
Perchance ye may understand. 

74. Thenceforth were vour hearts 
Hardened: they became 
Like a rock and even worse 
In hardness. For amone rocks 

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81. In Deut. xxi. L9 it is ordained that if the body of a slain man he found in a 
field and the slayer is not known, a heifer shall he beheaded, and the elders of the city 
next to the slain man's domicile shall wash their hands over the heifer and say that they 
neither did the deed nor saw it done, thus clearing themselves from the blood-guilt. 

The Jewish story based on this was that in a certain case of this kind, every one 
tried to clear himself of guilt and lay the blame at the door of others, In the first place 
they tried to prevaricate and prevent a heifer being slain as in the last parable. When 
she was slain, Allah by a miracle disclosed the really guilty person. A portion of the 
sacrificed heifer was ordered to be placed on the corpse, which came to life and disclosed 
the whole story of the crime. 

The lesson of this parable is that men may try to hide their crimes individually or 
collectively t but Allah will bring them to light in unexpected ways. Applying this further 
to Jewish national history, the argument is developed in the following verses that the 
Children of Israel played fast and loose with their own rites and traditions, bat they could 
not thus evade the consequences of their own sin. 

i ' v 1 Jyt 

- 30 * 

S.2 A-74-76 

J 1 JjV* *jJU 

T TjJl a JJ — 

There are sonic from which 
Rivers gusli forth; others 
There are which when split 
Asunder send forth water; 

And others which sink 
For fear of Allah, And Allah is 
Not unmindful of what ye do.* 

75. Can ye (C) ye men of Faith) 
Entertain the hope that they 
Will believe in you?- 
Seeing that a party of them 
Heard the Word of Allah, 

And perverted it knowingly 
After they understood ii. 

76. Behold! when they meet 81 
The men of Faith, they say: 

**We believe": but when 

They meet each other in private. 

They say: ’’Shull you tell them 

What Allah hath revealed to you. 

That they may engage you 

In argument about it 

Before your Lord?"- 

Do ye not understand (their aim)? 

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82. Tlie sinner's heart gets harder and harder. It is even harder than rocks, of winch 
a beautiful poetical allegory is placed before us. hi nature we think there is nothing 
harder than rocks. Bui there are rocks that weep voluntarily, like repentant hearts that 
come to Allah of their own accord: such are the rocks from which rivers and springs flow 
spontaneously, sometimes in small trickles, sometimes in big volumes. Then there arc 
rocks which have to be split or dug into or blown up with dynamite, and underneath 
we find abundant waters, as in wells beneath rocky soil. Such are the hearts of a less 
degree of fineness, which yet melt into tears when some great blow or calamity calls the 
mind to higher things. 

83. The immediate argument applies to the Jews of Madtnah, but the more general 
argument applies to the people of Faith and the people without Faith* as we shall see 
below If the Muslims of Madtnah ever entertained the hope that the Jews in their city 
would as a body welcome Muhammad Al-Mustafa as the Prophet prophesied in their own 
books, they were mistaken. In Dent, xviii 18. they read: '! will raise them up a Prophet 
from among their brethren, like unto thee?' (/,<*.. like unto Moses): which was interpreted 
by some of their doctors as referring to Muhammad, and they came into Islam. The Arabs 
are a kindred branch (if the Semitic family, and are correctly described in relation to the 

JfTiycifgfifti vpc ^lr?vr5t . v *„ j\. . ;- v *: 

- 31 - 

S.2 A. 77-79 J, 1 J ij+l T eyus &JJ ^ 

■ 77, Know they not that Allah ^ „ i A -t \ 

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77. Know they not l hat Allah 
Knoweth what they conceal 
And what they reveal? 

78. And there are among them 8 ' 1 
Illiterates, who know not the Book, 
But (see therein their own) desires, 
And they do nothing hut conjecture. 

79. Then woe to those who write 
The Book with their own hands, 
And then say: “This is from Allah,” 
To traffic with it 
For a miserable price !- 
Woe to them for what their hands 
Do write, and for the gain 
They make thereby. 

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= Jews as, "their brethren"; and there is no question that there was not another Prophet 
"like unto Moses" until Muhammad came: in fact the postscript of Deuteronomy, which 
was written many centuries after Moses, says: "There arose not a prophet since in Israel 
like unto Moses, whom (lie Lord Knew face to face." But the Jews as a body were jealous 
of Muhammad, and played a double pan. When the Muslim community began to grow 
stronger they pretended to he of them, but really tried to keep back any knowledge of 
their own Scriptures from them, lesi they should be beaten by the it own arguments. 

The more general interpretation holds good itt all ages. Faith and Unfaith arc pitted 
against each other. Faith has to struggle against power, position, organization, and 
privilege. When it gains ground. Unfaith comes forward insincerely and chimes fellowship. 
But in its own mind ii is jealous of the armoury of science and knowledge which Faith 
brings into the service of Allah, But Allah knows all. and if the people of Faith will only 
seek knowledge sincerely wherever they can find it -even as far afield as China, as 
Muhammad said, they can defeat Un faith on its own ground, [Even though the directive 
that Muslims should derive knowledge regardless of its location is an acceptable 
proposition from the Islamic viewpoint, the tradition to which the author refers here is 
not authentic). 

84. The argument of i. 76 is continued, The Jews wanted to keep back knowledge, 
but what knowledge had they? Many of them, even if they could read, were no better 
than illiterates, for they knew not their own true Scriptures, hut read into them what they 
wanted, or at best (heir own conjectures. They palmed off their own writings for the 
Message of Allah. Perhaps it brought them profit for the lime being: but it was a 
miserable profit if they "gained the whole world and lost their own souls" (Matt, xvi 
26). "Writing with their own hands" means inventing books themselves, which had no 
divine authority. 

The general argument is similar. Unfaith erects its own lake gods, Ii attributes things 
to causes which only exist in its own imagination Sometimes it even indulges in actual 
dishonest traffic in the ignorance of the multitude. It may pay for a time, but the bubble 
always hursts. 

- 32 - 

S.2A.SO-83 J. I JjVUjJLl Y SylJl 

. ’ 

80. And they say: "Hie Fire** 

Shall not touch us 

But for a few numbered days:" 

Say: “Have ye taken a promise 
From Allah, for He never 
Breaks His promise? 

Or is it that ye say of Allah 
What yc do not know?" 

81. Nay, those who seek gain M 
In Evil, and are girl round 
By their sms,- 

They are Companions of the Fire: 
Therein shall they abide 
(For ever). 

K2, But those who have faith 
And work righteousness. 

They are Companions of the Garden: 
Therein shall they abide 
(For ever). 


And remember We took 
A Covenant from the Children 


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85. The Jews in their arrogance might say: Whatever the terror of Hell may he for 
other people, our sins will he forgiven, because we are the ehildren of Ah rah am: at worst, 
we shall suffer a short definite punishment and then be restored to the "bosom of 
Abraham.” This bubble is pricked here Read this verse with ii. 81-82. 

The general application is also clear. If Un faith claims some special prerogative, such 
as race, '‘civilization,” political power, historical experience, and so on* these will not 
avail in Allah's sight. His promise is sure, hut His promise is for those who seek Allah 
in Faith, and show it in their conduct, 

86. Ibis is many degrees worse than merely falling into evil: it is going out to "earn 
evil*” as the Arabic text has it* Le . * to seek gain in evil. Such a perverse altitude means 
that the moral and spiritual fori revs erected around us by the Grace of Allah is voluntarily 
surrendered bv us and demolished by Evil, which erects its own fortress, so that access 
to Good may he more and more difficult. 

87. So far from the Covenant being of the kind you suggest in ii. 80. the real 
Covenant is about the moral law. which is set out in n 83 This moral law is universal, 
and if you break it, no privileges will lighten your punishment or help you in any way 
(ii, 86). “Speak fair to the people” not only means outward courtesy from the leaders — 

- 33 - 

S.2 A. 83-85 


T fljiuJl oj 

Of Israel (to this effect): 

Worship none hm Allah; 

Treat with kindness 
Your parents and kindred. 

And orphans and those in need; 
Speak fair to the people; 

Be steadfast in prayer; 

And Give Zakat, 

Then did ye turn back. 

Except a few among you. 

And yc backslide (even now), 

K4. And remember We took 10 ' 

Your Covenant (to this effect); 
Shed no blood amongst you, 

Nor turn out your own people 
From your homes: and this 
Ye solemnly ratified. 

And to this ye were witness, 

85, After this it is ye, the same people. 
Who slay among yourselves, 

And banish a party of you 
From their homes; assist 
(Their enemies) against them. 

In guilt and transgression; 

And if they come to you 
As captives* ye ransom 81 them. 

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to the meanest among the people, hut the protection of the people front being exploited, 
deceived, defrauded, or doped with things to lull their intelligence, 

KM. Verse 83 referred to the universal moral law. This verse 84 refers to its 
application under a special Covenant entered into with the Jews of Madinah by the new- 
born Muslim Commonwealth under its Guide and teacher Muhammad. This Covenant is 
given in Ihn Hisham's Sirat-ur-Rastii. h was entered into in the second year of the Hijra, 
and was treacherously broken by the Jews almost immediately afterwards. 

89. They fought and slew each other and not only banished those who were 
obnoxious to them but intrigued with their enemies. If by any chance they came hack 
into their hands as captives, they demanded ransom for them to return to their homes 
although they had no right to hartish them at all. If we understand by "ransom them” 
pay ‘'ransom for them to release them from the hands of their enemies," it would mean 
that they did this pious act for show, although they were themselves the authors of their 
unlawful banishment. 


-34 - 

S.2 A. 85-87 

J. 1 

T ijL]\ 

5 JJ— 

i : 


Though it was not lawful 
For you to banish them. 

Then is it only a part of the Book 
That ye believe in. 

And do ye reject the rest? 

But whai is l lie reward for those 
Among you who behave like this 
But disgrace in this life?— 

And on the Day of Judgment 
They shall he consigned 
To the most grievous chastise mem 
For Allah is not unmindful 
Of what yc do. 

These are the people who buy 
The life of this world at the price 
Of the 1 lereaftcr: their chastisement 
Shall not he lightened 
Nor shall they be helped. 


We gave Moses the Book 

And followed him up 

With a succession of Messengers; 

We gave Jesus the son of Mary ' 1 ' 

Clear (Signs) and strengthened him 

With the holy spirit. Is it 

That whenever there comes to you 

A Messenger with what ye 

Yourselves desire not, yc arc 

Puffed up with pride?— 

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90. As to the birth of Jesus, vj\ xix. lfi-,14, Why is he called the "Sou of Mary'". 1 
What are his clear signs? What is the "holy spirit" by which he was strengthened? We 
reserve to a later stage a discussion of the Quranic teaching on these questions See iii. 
62 n. 401. 

- 35 

5,2 A. 87-88 

Some ye called impostors. 

And others ye slay!* 1 

88* They say* “Our hearts 
Are the wrappings'*" (which 


Allah's Word: wc need no more)" 
Nay* Allah's curse is on them 
For their blasphemy: 1 ' 
l ittle is it thev believe* 

* * 1 ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

ML Notice the sudden transition from the past tense in "some ye called impostors" 
to the present tense in “others ye slay**' There is a double significance* First, reviewing 
the long course of Jewish history, wc have come to the lime of Jesus: they have often 
given the lie to Allah's Prophets* and even now they are trying to slay Jesus. Secondly, 
extending the review of that history to the time of Muhammad* they are even now trying 
to take the life of that holy Prophet* This would be literally true at the time the words 
were promulgated to the people. And this transition leads on naturally to the next verse, 
which refer to the actual conditions before Muhammad in Madinah in the second year 
of the l Iijra. 

Sections 11-13 (ii. 87-121) refer to the People of the Book generally. Jews and 
Christians* Even where Moves and the l aw of Sinai are referred lo* those traditions are 
common lo both Jews and Christians. The argument is about the people who ought to 
have learnt from previous Revelations and welcomed Muhammad's teaching* and yet they 
boll* took up an alt h tide of arrogant rejection. 

M2 The Jews in their arrogance claimed that all wisdom and all knowledge of Allah 
were enclosed in their hearts But there were more things in heaven and earth than were 
dreamt of in their philosophy Thcjr claim was not only arrogance but blasphemy. In 
reality they were men without Faith, (t take Gtdftm here to be the plural of Qitdfun the 
wrapping or cover of a book* in which the book is preserved,). 

As usual, there is a much wider meaning. How many people at all limes and among 
all nations close their hearts to any extension of knowlege or spiritual influence because 
of some little fragment which they have got and which they think is the whole of Allah's 
Truth? Such an attitude shows really want of faith and is a blasphemous limitation of 
Allah's unlimited spiritual gifts lo His creatures. [According to another view, the verse 
refers to the Jewish claim that a covering had been placed over their hearts which 
prevented them from grasping the message of the Prophet (peace be on him). See I bn 
Kathir’s commentary on the verse. See also verse iv. 155* | 

M3. ITie root kafara has many shades of meaning: (1) to deny Allah's goodness* to 
be ungrateful* (2) to reject Faith, deny His revelation, (3) to blaspheme* to ascribe some 
limitation or attribute to Allah which is derogatory' to His nature. In a translation* one 
shade or another must be put forward according to the context* but all are implied. 


- 36 - 

S.2 A. 89*91 

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A * * 

89. And when there comes; to them 
A Book* 1 from Allah, confirming 
What is with them,- although 
From of old they had prayed 
For victory against those 
Without Faith,- when there comes 
To them that which they 
(Should) have recognized, 

They refuse to believe in it 
But the curse of Allah 
Is on those without Faith. 

90. Miserable is the price 
For which they have sold 
Their souls, in that they 
Deny (the revelation) 

Which Allah lias sent down. 

In insolent envy that Allah 
Of His Grace should send it 

To any of Mis servants He pleases:* 5 
Thus have they drawn 
On themselves Wrath upon Wrath, 
And humiliating is the Chastisement 
Of those who reject Faith. 

91. When it is said to them. 

“Believe in what Allah 

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94. The Jews, who pretended to he so superior to the people without Failh-the 
Gcmilcs-should have been the fust in recognize the new Trulh-or the Truth renewed- 
which it was Muhammad** mission hi bring because it was so similar in form and language 
to what they had already received. But they had more arrogance than faith. It is this 
want of faith that brings on the curse, ir., deprives us (if wc adopt such an attitude) 
of the blessings of Allah. 

Again the lesson applies to a much wider circle than the Jews. Wc are all apt, in 
our perverseness, to reject an appeal from our brother even more summarily than one 
from an outsider. If wc have a glimmering of the truth, we are apt to make ourselves 
impervious to further truth, and (bus lose the benefit of Allah's Grace, 

95. Racial arrogance made the Jews averse to the reception of Truth when it came 
through a servant of Allah, not of their own race. Again the lesson h wider. Is that 
averse ness unknown in our own times, and among other races? Yet how can a race or 

people set bounds to Allah's choice? Allah is the Creator and Chemher of all races 
all worlds. 


- 37 - 


T Ijl3\ 

Hath sent down," they say* 

“We believe in what was sent down 
To us": yet they reject 
All besides, even if it be Truth 
Confirming what is witli them. 
Say: “Why then have ye slain 
The prophets of Allah in times 
Gone by, if vc did indeed 


There came to you Moses 
With clear (Signs); yet 
Ye worshipped the Calf 
(Even) after that, and ye 
Did behave wrongfully. 

And remember We look 
Your Covenant and We raised 
Above you the mount (Sinai): 
(Saying): “Hold firmly 
To what We have given you. 
And hearken (to the Law)" 1 ' 
They said: “We hear* 

And we disobey":^ 

And their hearts'*' 


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z C 

%. Even the race argument is often a flimsy and hollow pretext. Did not the Jews 
reject Prophets of their own race who told them unpleasant truths? And do not other 
nations do likewise? The real trouble is selfishness, narrowness, a mean dislike of anything 
which funs counter to habits, customs or inclinations. 

97. C/, the introductory words of ii, 63, which are the same as the introductory words 
here, but the argument is developed in a different direction in the two places lit ii. 63, 
after they are reminded of the solemn Covenant under the towering height of Mount Sinai 
they are told how they broke the Covenant in after ages. Here, after they are reminded 
of the same solemn Covenant, they are told that even then they never meant to observe 
it. Their thought is expressed in biting words of sarcasm. They said in words: "AH that 
the Lord hath spoken, we will do," But they said in their hearts: "We shall disobey," 

98. What they should have said was: "We hear and we obey": this is the altitude 
of the true men of Faith (ii, 2M5}, 

99. After the Commandments ami the Law had been given a I Mount Sinai, and the 
people had solemnly given dieir Covenant, Moses went up to the Mount, and in his 
absence, the people made the golden calf. [The word ushribu which occurs in the verse 
seems to suggest, as the noted Tahiti Qatadah is reported to have said, that their hearts 
were saturated with the love for the calf. See Ibn KathTr, Commentary on the verse ii. 93. 

* I * * 

- 38 * 

S. 2 A. 93-96 

J. I T fljjtJl SjjH-- 

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Were fillet! 

(With the love) of the Calf 
Because of their Faithlessness. 

Say: "Vile indeed 

Arc the behests of your Faith 

If ye have any faith!" 

94, Say: ‘if the last Home, 

With Allah, he for you specially. 
And not for anyone else. 

Then seek ye for death. 

If ye are sincere," 

95, But they shall never seek 

For death, on account of the (sins) 
Which thetr hands have sent 
On before them, 11 * 1 
And Allah is well -acquainted 
With the wrong- doers. 

%. Thou wilt indeed find them. 

Of all people, most greedy 
Of life, -even more 
Than the idolaters: 

Each one of them wishes 
He could be given a life 
Of a thousand years: 

But the grant of such liTe 
Will not save him 
From (due) chastisement 
For Allah sees well 
All that they do. 

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IfMl. The phrase "What their hands have sent on before them” frequently occurs in 
the Our-an, Here, and in many places, it refers to sins. In such passages as Ixxviii, 4(1. 
or Ixxxi. 14, it is implied that both good and had deeds go before us to the judgment-seat 
of Allah before vve do ourselves. In ti. 110, it is the good that goes before us. Our deeds 
arc personified. They are witnesses for or against us, and they always go before us. Their 
good or had influence begins to operate before we even know it. This is more general 
than the New Testament idea in the First Epistle of St, Paul to Timothy, v. 24: "Some 
men’s sins are open he forehand, going before to judgment : and some men they follow 


’A r^V 

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- 39 - 

S.2 A. 97-10 1 

J. i 


wA.v/-iui .j. i Jj'Jl r 


97. Say: Whoever is an enemy 101 
To Gabriel -for he brings down 
The (revelation) to thy heart 
By Allah's will, a confirmation 
Of what went before. 

And guidance and glad tidings 
For those who believe,— 

9S. Whoever is an enemy to Allah 
And His angels and prophets. 

To Gabriel and Michael, - 
Lo! Allah is an enemy to those 
Who reject Faith. 

99. We have sent down to thee 
Manifest Signs (rmif); 

And none reject them 
But those who arc perverse. 

100. Is it not (the case) that 

Every time they make a Covenant. 
Some party among them 
Throw it aside?- Nay, 

Most of them are faithless. 

I0L And when there came to them 
A Messenger from Allah, 
Confirming what was with them. 
A party of the People of the Book 

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1 01 . A party of the Jews in ihe time of Muhammad ridiculed die Muslim belief that 
Gabriel brought down revelations to Muhammad Al-Mustafa. Michael was called in their 
books "the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people”: (Daniel, xii. 1). 
The vision of Gabriel inspired fear (Daniel, viii 16-17). But (his pretence-that Michael 
was their friend and Gabriel their eneriiy-was merely a manifestation of their unbelief in 
angels. Prophets and Allah Himself; and such unbelief could not win the love of Allah 
In any case it was disingenuous to say that they believed in one angel and not in another. 
Muhammad's inspiration was through visions of Gabriel. Muhammad had been helped lo 
t he highest spiritual light, and (he message which he delivered and his spotless integrity 
and exemplary life were manifest Signs which every one could understand except those 
who were obstinate and perverse. Besides, the verses of the Our- an were in themselves 
reasonable and dear. 

- 40 - 

S.2 A.IOM02 

J. 1 

Y fi SJJ— 

Threw away the Book of Allah UL 
Behind their backs* 

As if (it had been something) 

They did not know! 

102. They followed what the Satans 1 " 3 
Recited over 
So 1 om o n ' s K i n gd am. 

Solomon did not disbelieve 
But Satans disbelieved. teaching men. 
Magic, and such tilings 
As came down at Babylon 

To the angels Ha rut and Marut 


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1 1)2. I think that by “the Book of Allah" here is meant* not the Our- an. but the 
Book which the People of the Book had been given, viz., the previous Revelations. The 
argument is that Muhammad's Message was similar to Revelations which they had already 
received, and if they had looked into their own Books honestly and sincerely, they would 
have found proofs in them to show that the new Message was true and from Allah. Bui 
they ignored their own Books or twisted or distorted them according to their own fancies. 
Worse, they followed something which was actually false and mischievous and inspired 
hy the evil one. Such was the belief in magic and sorcery. These are described in the 
next verse in terms referring to the beliefs and practices of ihe “People of the Book". 

BO. Hus is a continuation of the argument in ii. HH. The People of the Book, 
instead of slicking lo the plain Books of Revelations, and seeking to do the will of Allah, 
ran after all sorts of occult knowledge, most of which was false and evil, Many wonderful 
tales of occult power attributed the power of Solomon to magic. But Solomon dealt in 
no arts of evil. It was the powers of evil that pretended to force the laws of nature and 
the will of Allah; such a pretence is plainly blasphemy. 

104. Harut and Marut lived in Babylon, a very ancient seat of science, especially the 
science of astronomy. The period may he supposed to anywhere about ihe time when 
the ancient Eastern Monarchies were strong and enlightened: probably even earlier, as 
Ma-ru-tu or Madruk was a deified hero afterwards worshipped as a god of maeic in 
Babylon. Being good men. Harui and Marut of course dabbled in nothing evil, and their 
hands were certainly clean of fraud. But knowledge and the arts, if learned by evil men, 
can be applied to evil uses. The evil ones* besides ihe if fraudulent magic, also learnt a 
little of this true science and applied it to evil uses Harut and Marut did not withhold 
knowledge, yet never (ought anyone without plainly warning them of the trial and 
temptation of knowledge in the hands of evil men. Being men of insight, they also saw 
the blasphemy that might rise to the lips of ihe evil ones puffed up with science and 
warned them against it. Knowledge is indeed a trial or temptation: if we are warned* we 
know its dangers: if Allah has endowed us with free wall, we must be free to choose 
between the benefit and the danger. 

Among the Jewish traditions in the Mid rash (Jewish Ttifsirs) was a story of two angels 
who asked Allah's permission to come down to earth but succumbed to temptation* and 
were hung up by their feet al Babylon for punishment Such stories about sinning angels 
who were east down to punishment were believed m by the early Christians also. (See 
the Second Epistle of Peter* it. 4. and the Epistle of Jude* verse 6), 

-41 - 

S.2 A. 102-103 

■ - 1 

j. i JjVi *^i 

T iji Jl Zjj — 



But neither of these taught anyone 
(Such things) without saying: 

“We are only for trial; 

So do not blaspheme/* 

They learned from thcTn ] '* s 
The means to sow discord 
Between man and wife. 

But they could not thus 
Harm anyone except 
By Allah's permission, 

And they learned what harmed 


Not what profited them. 

And they knew that the buyers 
Of (magic) would have 
No share in the happiness 
Of the 1 lereafter. And vile 
Was the price for which 
They did sell their souls* 

If they but knew! 

103, If they had kept their Faith 

And guarded themselves from evil. 
Far better had been 
The reward from Allah 
If they hut knew! 


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105, What the evil i>nes learni from llarut anil Marut (see last note) they turned to 
evil When mixed with fraud and deception* it appeared as charms and spells and love 
potions. They did nothing but cause discord between the sexes. Hut of course their power 
was limited to the extent io which Allah permitted the evil to work, for His grace 
protected all who sought His guidance and repented ami returned to Him. But apart from 
the harm that these false pretenders might do to others* the chief harm which they did 
was to their own souls. They sold themselves into slavery to the Evil, as is shown in the 
allegory of Goethe's Farn r. That allegory dealt with the individual soul. Here the tragedy 
is shown to occur not only to individuals but to ssbule groups of people, for example, 
the People of the Book. Indeed the story might he extended indefinitely. 

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- 42 - 

S.2 A. 107-109 J. [ Jj'JI t jJLt TSjlJUjj- 









{ ‘*h. 



: ll 








107. Knowcst thou not 

That to Allah bclongeth 
Tlic dominion of Uic heavens 
And the earth? 

And besides Him ye have 
Neither patron nor helper. 

108. Would ye question 

Your Messenger as Moses 10 * 

Was questioned of old? 

But whoever change! h 
From Faith lo Unbelief, 

Hath strayed without doubt 
From the even way. 11 w 

109. Quite a number of the People 
Of the Book wish they could 
Turn you (people) back 
To infidelity after ye have 


From selfish envy. 

Alter the Truth hath become 

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the same, hut that it 1 ' form may differ according to the needs and exigencies of the time. 
That form was different as given to Moses and then to Jesus and then to Muhammad. 
Some commentators apply il also to the Aval of the Qur-an. There is nothing derogatory 
m this it we believe in progressive revelation. In in 7 we are told distinctly about the 
Qur-fin. that some of us verses are clear (and of established meaning), and others are 
not entirely clear, and it is mischievous to treat I he verses that are not entirely clear and 
to follow them (literally). On the other hand, il is absurd to treat such a verse as ii. 

115 as if it were abrogated by ii, 144 about the Oibla, 

There may be express abrogation, or there may be “causing or permitting to forget?* 
How many good and wise institutions gradually become obsolete by afflux of time? Then 

there is the gradual process of disuse or forgetting in evolution. This does not mean that 

eternal principles change. It is only a sign of Allah's infinite Power that His creation 
should take so many forms and shapes not only in the material world but in the world 
of man's thought and expression, 

108, Moses was constantly harassed with foolish, impertinent, or disingenuous 
questions by his own people. We must not follow that bad example. Questions should he 
asked only for real instruction, 

109. “Even way": the Arabic word sawda signifies smoothness as opposed to 
roughness; symmetry as opposed to want of plan; equality or proportion as opposed to 
want of design; rectitude as opposed to crookedness; a mean as opposed to extremes; 
and fitness for the object held in view as opposed to faultiness. 


l*~ J ' ■- y* ■* • v - c -m y • Hi V ~ j ■ yXi "J^rt 4 

- 44 - 

S.2 A. 11)4-106 J. 1 JjNl *jJLt if i^aJl ijy* 



















104 O yc of Faith! 

Say not (to the Prophet) 

Ra'ina, but say, k Unzurna inft 
And hearken (to Him): 

To those without Faith 
Is a grievous punishment, 

105. It is never the wish 
Of those without Faith 
Among the People of the Book 
Nor of the polytheists. 

That anything good 
Should come down to you 
From your Lord, 

But Allah will choose 
For His special Mercy 
Whom He vvill-for Allah is 
Lord of grace abounding. 

106. None of Our revelations 107 
Do Wc abrogate 

Or cause to be forgotten. 

But We substitute 
Something better or similar: 
Knowest thou not that Allah 
Hath power over all things? 


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I()6, ITe word disapproved is Ra'ina, which as used In the Muslims meant. “Please 
look at us. attend to us." But it was ridiculed by enemies by a little twist to suggest 
some insulting meaning. So an unambiguous word "Un/urna," with the same meaning is 
suggested. The general lesson is that we must guard ourselves against the cynical trick 
of using words which sound complimentary lo the ear but have a hidden barb in them. 
Not only must we be plain and honest in our words. We must respectfully hearken to 
the words of a Teacher whom we have addressed. Thoughtless people use vain words or 
put foolish questions, anti straightaway turn Iheir minds lo something else. 

KIT. The word which I have translated by the word 'revelations'' is Ayal. See n. 15, it not 
only used for verses of the Gur-an, Inn in a general sense for Allah's revelations, as in 
it. 39 and for other Signs of Allah in history or nature, or miracles, as in ii. 61. It has 
even been used for human signs and tokens of wonder, as, for example, monuments or 
landmarks built by the ancient people of Ad {xxvi. 125). What is the meaning here? If 
we take it in a general sense, it means that Allah's Message from age to age is always 

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- 43 - 

S.2 A. 109-112 J. ! 

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Manifest unto them: 

But forgive and overlook/ 10 
Till Allah brings about 
His command; 111 for Allah 
Hath power over all things/ 12 

110- And be steadfast in prayer 
And give Zakat: 

And whatever good 
Ye send forth for your souls 11 ' 
Before you, ye shall find it 
With Allah: for Allah sees 
Well all that ye do, 

111. And they say: “None 

Shall enter Paradise unless 
He be a Jew or a Christian “ 
Those arc their (vain) desires. 
Say: “Produce your proof 
If ve are truthful.” 

112. Nay, -whoever submits 

His whole self 114 to Allah 

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110. Three words nre used in the Qur-an, with a meaning akin to “forgive”, but each 
with a different shade of meaning. A fa (here translated “forgive") means to forget, to 
obliterate from one's mind. Safaha (here translated "overlook") means to turn away from, 
to ignore, to treat a matter as if it did not affect one. G afar a (which does not occur 
in this verse) means to cover up something as Allah does to our sins with His grace: 
this word is particularly appropriate in Allah’s attribute to Gaff dr, the One who forgives 
again and again. 

111. The word Amr r is comprehensive, and includes (l) an order or command as in 
xevi. 12; or (2) a purpose, design, will, as in win. 82; or (3) affairs, working, doing, 
carrying out or execution of a design, as in Ixxxix. 5. In many cases some of these 
meanings run together. 

112. Note how this phrase, seemingly repeated from ii. 106, and occurring in many 
other places, has an appropriate signification in each place. In ii. 106 we were told about 
progressive revelation, how the same thing may take different forms, and seeming human 
infirmity contribute to the fulfilment of Allah's design, for Allah's power is unlimited. 

Here we are told to be patient and forgiving against envy and injustice; this too may be 
fulfilling Allah’s purpose, for Ilis power is infinite. 

113. Cj\ ii 95 n, 100. 

114. The word translated “self" is Wajh, a comprehensive Arabic word. 

h J ■yfX 4 y it rfijr* 3y* 3-iJpw * yr p Ty ^ .1 wi£h« uyw - y v> «Ty E. *i syl « yG J 

- 45 - 

S.2 A. 112-114 

And is a doer of good,- 
He will gel liis reward 
With his Lord; 

On such shall be no fear, 

Nor shall they grieve. 115 


113. The Jews say: “The Christians 
Have naught (to stand) upon; 
And the Christians say; 

“The Jews have naught 
(To stand) upon/* Yet they 
{Profess to) study the (same) Rook. 
Like unto their word 
Is what those say who know 

not; ,!fl 

But Allah will judge 
Between them in their quarrel 
On the Day of Judgment. 

114. And who is more unjust 
Than he who forbids 117 

That in places for the worship 
Of Allah, His name should he 

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115. This phrase comes in aptly in its own context many times. In this Sura it occurs 
in ii, 38, 62, 112, 262, 274 and 277. 

1 16. It is a sure sign of ignorance and prejudice when you study the same book as 
another or a similar one and yet are absolutely intolerant of the meaning which the other 
draws from it. You should know better, but you speak like the ignorant. In this case 
the primary reference in the word “ignorant” may be to the Pagan Arabs. 

117. There were actually Pagans in Makkah who tried to shut out the Muslim Arabs 
from the Ka’ba, the universal place of Arab worship. The Pagans themselves called it 
the House of Allah. With what face could they exclude the Muslims, who wanted to 
worship the true Allah instead of worshipping idols? If these Pagans had succeeded, they 
would only have caused violent divisions among the Arabs and destroyed the sanctity and 
the very existence of the Ka’ba. 

This verse, taken in a general sense, establishes the principle of freedom of worship 
in a public mosque or place dedicated to [he worship of Allah. This is recognized in 
Muslim law. 

- 46 - 

Celebratcd?-whose zca! 

Is (in fact) to ruin them? 

It was not fitting that such 
Should themselves enter them 
Except in fear. For them 
There is nothing hut disgrace 
In this world, and in the world 
To come, an exceeding torment. 

115. To Allah belong the East 
And the West: whithersoever 

Ye turn* there is Allah's Face. 11 * 
For Allah is All-Embracing, 

116. They say: “Allah hath begotten 
A son": Glory be to Him -Nay, 
To Him belongs all 

That is in the heavens 
And on earth: everything 
Renders worship to Him, IIJ 

117. The Originator 
Of the heavens and the earth: 
When He decreeth a matter. 

He saith to it: ''Be," 

And it is. 


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1IH. That is, you will face Allah whichsoever direction you turn your face. See note 
to iL 112 above. 

! 19. It is a derogation from the glory of Allah-in fact it is blasphemy-to say that 
Allah begets sons, like a man or an animal. The Christian doctrine is here emphatically 
repudiated. If words have any meaning, it would mean an attribution to Allah of a 
material nature, and of the lower animal functions of sex. 

120. The previous verse told us that everything in heaven and earth celebrates the 
glory of Allah. Lest anyone should think that the heavens and the earth were themselves 
primeval and eternal, we are now told that they themselves are creatures of Allah's will 
and design. Cf. vi. 102, where the word bada \i is used as here for the creation of l he 
heavens and the earth, and khaiaqa is used for the creation of all things. Ikuia'a goes 
back to the very primal beginning, as far as we can conceive it. The materialists might 
say that primeval matter was eternal; other things, /■ e. the forms and shapes as we sec 
them novy, were called into being at some time or other, and will perish. When they 
perish, they dissolve into primeval matter again, which stands as the base of all existence. 
We go further back. We say that if we postulate such primeval matter, it owes its origin 

- 47 - 

S.2 A. 118* 120 

118. Say those without knowledge: 
“Why speuketh not Allah 
Unto us? Or why comcth not 
Unto us a Sign? 

So said the people before them 
Words of similar import. 

Their hearts are alike. 

We have indeed made clear 
The Signs unto any people 
Who hold firmly 
To Faith (in their hearts). 

119. Verily We have sent thee 
In truth as a bearer 

Of glad tidings and a warner: 

But of thee no question 

Shall be asked of the Companions 

Of the Blazing Fire. 

120. Never will the Jews 

Or the Christians be satisfied 
With thee unless thou follow 
Their form of religion. Say: 

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itself to Allah. If this is conceded, we proceed to argue that the process of Creation is 
not then completed. ‘All things in the heavens and on the earth" are created Ivy gradual 
processes, tn "things'* we include abstract as well as material things. We see the abstract 
things and ideas actually growing before us But that also is Allah’s creation, to which 
we can apply the word khalaqa, for in it is involved the idea of measuring, fitting it into 
a scheme of other things. Cf. Uv, 49; also xxv. 59, On the other hand, die "amr" 
(= Command, Direction, Design) ts a single thing, unrelated to Time, ’ like the twinkling 
of an eye” {liv, 50). Another word to note in this connection is ja 'ala "making” which 
seems to imply new shapes and forms, new dispositions, as the making of the Signs of 
the Zodiac in the heavens, or the setting out of the sun and moon for light, or the 
establishment of the succession of day and night (xxv, ft 1-62). A further process with 
regard to the soul is described in the word sawint. bringing it to perfection (xci. 7} hut 
this we shall discuss in its place. Fatara (xlii II) implies, like hada'a, the creating of a 
thing out of nothing and after no pre-existing similitude, but perhaps fatara implies the 
creation of primeval matter to which further processes have to be applied later, as when 
one prepares dough but leaves the leavening to he done after, ftadaa (without the Vim), 
xxx, 27, implies beginning the process of creation: this is made further dear in xxxii. 7 
where the beginning of I he creation of pristine man from clay refers to his physical body, 
leaving the further processes of reproduction and the breathing in of the soul to be 
described in subsequent verses. Lastly, baraa is creation implying liberation from pre- 
existing matter or circumstance, e,g,, man's body from clay (lix. 24) or a calamity from 
previously existing circumstances {Ivii. 22). See also vi. 94, n. 9 lb; vi. 98, n. 923; lix. 
24, nil. 5405-6. 

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“The Guidance of Allah,— that 
Is the (tmly) Guidance/’ 

Werl thou to follow their desires 
After the knowledge 
Which hath reached thee, 

Then wouldst thou find 
Neither Protector nor I ielper 
Against Allah. 

121. Those to whom We have given 
The Book study it as it 
Should be studied: they are 
The ones that believe therein: 
Those who reject faith t herein, - 
The loss is their own. 



122. O Children of Israel! call to mind 
The special favour which I bestowed 
Upon you, and that 1 preferred you 
To all others. 

123. Then guard yourscvles against a Day 
When one soul shall not avail 


Nor shall compensation be 

accepted from her 
Nor shall intercession profit her 
Nor shall anyone be helped 

(from outside) 

124. And remember that Abraham 
Was tried by his Lord 


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121-122, Versus 122-123 repeat verses 47-1K (except for a slight verbal variation in ib 123, 
which does not affect the sense). The argument about ihe favours to Israel is thus 
beautifully mantled off, and we now proceed to ihe argument in favour of the Arabs as 
succeeding to Ihe spiritual inheritance of Abraham. 


- 49 - 

: A. 124 125 



With certain Commands 
Which he fulfilled: 

He said: * l I will make thee 
An Imam 3 " 4 to the people. 

He pleaded: “And also 
(Imams) from my offspring!” 

He answered: ” But My Promise 
[s not within the reach 
Of evil-doers.” 

Remember We made the House 125 
A place of assembly for men 
And a place of safety; 

And take ye the Station 
Of Abraham as a place 
Of prayer; and We covenanted 


SDiliZ. ii S 

( 1 ^* ^y. at 

123. Kaiimdi: literally “words”: here used in the sense of Allah’s Wilt or Decree or 
Purpose. This verse may be taken to be the sum of I lie verses following. In everything 
Abraham fulfilled Allah’s wish: he purified Allah's house: he built the sacred refuge of 
the Ka’ba; he submitted his will to Allah’s, and thus became the type of Islam. He was 
promised the leadership of the world; he pleaded for his progeny, and his prayer was 
granted, with the limitation that if his progeny was false to Allah. Allah’s promise did 
not reach the people who proved themselves false. 

124. Imam: the primary sense is that of being foremost: hence it may mean: (1) 
leader in religion; (2) leader in congregational prayer; (3) model, pattern, example; (4) 
a book of guidance and instructions {xi, 17); (5) a book of evidence or record (xxxvi 12). 
Mere, meanings I and 3 are implied. In ix. 12 the word is applied to leaders of Unbelief 
or Blasphemy. 

125. The Ka’ba. the House of Allah. Its foundation goes back by Arab tradition to 
Abraham, hs fourfold character is here referred to (l) It was the centre to which all the 
Arab tribes resorted for trade; for poetic contests, and for worship, (2) It was sacred 
territory, and was respected by friend and foe alike. At all seasons, all lighting was and 
is forbidden within its limits, and even arms are not allowed to be carried, and no game 
or other thing is allowed to be killed. Like the Cities of Refuge under the Mosaic 
Dispensation, to which manslayers could flee (Num. xxxv. 6). or the Sanctuaries in 
Mediaeval Europe, to which criminals could not be pursued. Makkah was recognized by 
Arab custom as inviolable for the pursuit of revenge or violence, (3) It was a place of 
prayer; even to-day there is a Station of Abraham. (4) It must be held pure and sacred 
for all purposes. 

Though the verse as a whole is expressed in the First Person Plural, the House is 
called “My House,” to emphasize the personal relation of Allah, the One True God, to 
ii , and repudiate the Polytheism which defiled it before it ivas purified again by 

- 50 - 

S.2 A. 125-127 

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With Abraham and Ismail, 

That they should sanctify 
My House for those who 
Compass it round, or use it 
As a retreat, or bow, or 
Prostrate themselves (therein 
In prayer). 

126. And remember Abraham said: 
“My Lord, make this a City 

Of Peace, 127 and feed its People 
With fruits, f2H — such of them 
As believe in Allah and the Last 


He said: “(Yea), and such as 

Reject Faith, -for a while 

Will I grant them their pleasure, 

But will soon drive them 

To the torment of Fire,- 

An evil destination (indeed)!" 

127. And remember Abraham 
And [small raised 

The foundations of the House 
(With this prayer): “Our Lord! 
Accept (this service) from us: 

For Thou art the All- Hearing, 
The All-Knowing. 


126. Four rites arc here enumerated, which have now acquired a technical meaning. 
(1) Going round the Ka’ab: Tawdf. (2) Retiring to the place as a spiritual retreat, for 
contemplation and prayer: riikdf. (3) The posture of bending the back in prayer: Rukft. 
(4) The posture of prostrating oneself on the ground in prayer: Sujurf. The protection 
of the holy territory is for all, but special cleanliness and purity is required for the sake 
of the devotees who undertake these rites. 

127. The root salama in the word Islam implies (among other ideas) the idea of 
Peace and therefore when Makkah is the city of Islam, it is also I he City of Peace, 'flic 
same root occurs in the latter part of the name Jerusalem, the Jewish City of Peace. 
When the day of Jerusalem passed (see verse 134 or 141 below), Makkah became the 
“New Jerusalem '"-or rather the old and original “City of Peace'" restored and made 

128. The territory of Makkah is barren and rocky, compared with, say, Taif, a city 
to the east of Makkah. A prayer for the prosperity of Makkah therefore includes a prayer 
for the good things of material life. 

- 51 - 

“Our Lord! make of us 
Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), 
And of our progeny a people 
Muslim, bowing to Thy (Will); 
And show us our places for 
The celebration of (due) rites; 
And turn unto us (in Mercy); 
For Thou art the Oft-Relenting 
Most Merciful. 

129. 44 Our Lord! send amongst them 
A Messenger of their own. 

Who shall rehearse Thy Signs 
'Fo them and instruct them 

In Scripture and Wisdom, 

And purify them; 

For Thou art the Exalted in Might 
The Wise/ ,l2y 


130. And who turns away 

From the religion of Abraham 
Bui such as debase their souls 
Willi folly? Him We those 130 

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129. (low beautiful this prayer is, and how aptly it comes in here in the argument! 
Such Paganism or star- worship or planet- worship as there was in Abraham's lime was first 
cleared out of Mukknh by Abraham. This is the chief meaning of ^sanctification" or 
"purification" in ii, 125, although of course physical cleanliness is (in physical conditions) 
a necessary element of purification in the higher sense. Abraham and his cider son Isma'il 
then built the Ka'hn and established the rites and usages of the sacred city. He was thus 
the founder of the original tstam (which is as old as mankind) in Arabia. As becomes 
a devout man, he offer* and dedicates the work to Allah in humble supplication, 
addressing Him as the Alt-Hearing and the All-Knowing, He then asks for a blessing on 
himself and his progeny generally, both the children of his eldest-born Ismael and his 
younger son Isaac, With prophetic vision he foresees that there will be corruption and 
backsliding in both branches of his family: Makkah will house 3fi0 idols, and Jerusalem 
wall become a harlot city (Ezekiel xvi. 15), a city of abomination. But the light of Islam 
will shine, and reclaim the lost people in both branches and indeed in all the world. So 
he prays for Allah’s mercy, addressing Him as the Oft-Relenting, Most Merciful. And 
finally he foresees in Makkah a Prophet teaching the people as one "of their own" and 
in their own beautiful Arabic language: he asks for a blessing on Muhammad's ministry, 
appealing to the Power and Wisdom of Allah. 

130. hmf&; chose; chose because of purity; chose and purified. It is the same root 
from which At- Mustafa is derived, one of the titles of Muhammad. 











* 52 - 

S.2 A. 130- 134 

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And rendered pure in this world: 
And he will be in the Hereafter 
In the ranks of the Righteous. 


^ ^ 1 

131. Behold! his Lord said 

To him: Submit {thy will to Me):” 
lie said: “I submit (my will) 

To the Lord and Cherisher 
Of the Universe. " 


132. And Abraham enjoined 
Upon his sons 
And so did Jacob; 

“Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen 
The Faith for you; then die not 
Except in the state of submission 

(to Me). 

I*- ^ ^ 

axA oi 

133. Were ye witnesses 131 

When Death appeared before 


Behold, he said to his sons: 

“What will yc worship after me?" 
They said: “We shall worship 
Thy God and the God of thy 

Of Abraham, lsma% and Isaac - 
The One (True) God; 

To Him do we submit.” 


134, That was a People that hath 
Passed away. They shall reap 
The fruit of what they did, 
And yc of what ye do! 


131. The whole of the Children of Israel arc called to witness one of their slogans, 
that they worshipped “the God of their fathers.” The idea in their minds got narrowed 
down to that of a tribal God. But they are reminded that their ancestors had the principle 
of Islam in them, -the worship of Allah, die One True and Universal God. The death-bed 
scene is described in Jewish tradition. 

132. “Fathers’ 1 meuns ancestors, and includes uncles, grand-uncles, as well as direct 







<t/ = 

•C': *► 



- 53 - 

They say: "Became Jews 
Or Christians if ye would he guided 
(To salvation)/* Say thou: 

“Nay! (I would rather) the Religion 
Of Abraham the True, 154 
And he joined not gods with Allah/* 

1 My Say ye: "Wc believe 

In Allah, and the revelation 
Given to us, and lo Abraham, 
Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, 

And the Tribes, and that given 
To Moses and Jesus, and that given 
To (all) Prophets from their Lord: 
We make no diffretiee 
Between one and another of them: 
And we submit to Allah. 1 2 * * '* 5 

137. Si) if they believe 

As ye believe, they are indeed 
On the right path; but if 
They turn back, it Is they 
Who arc in schism; but Allah will 

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133. On the Day of Judgment each soul would have to answer for its own deeds: 
it cannot claim merit from others, nor be answerable for the crimes or sins of others. Here 
the argument is: if the Jews or Christians claim the merits of Father Abraham and 
ihc Patriarchs or of Jesus, we cannot follow them. Because there were righteous men in the 
past, it cannot help us unless we are ourselves righteous. The doctrine of personal 
responsibility is a cardinal feature of Islam. 

134. Uamf: inclined to right opinion, orthodox (in the literal meaning of the Greek 
words), firm in faith, sound and well-balanced, true. Perhaps the Iasi word, '1’rue, sums 
up most of the other shades. 

The Jews, though taught Unity, went after false gods, and the Christians invented 
the Trinity or borrowed it from Paganism. We go hack to the pure, hanif doctrine of 
Abraham, to live and die in faith in the One True God. 

135. Here we have the Creed of Islam: to believe in (l) the One Universal God, 

(2) tire Message to us through Muhammad and the Signs (tiytit) as interpreted on the basis 

of personal responsibility, (3) the Message delivered by other Teachers in the past. These 

are mentioned in three groups: (I) Abraham, IsmaTI, Isaac. Jacob, and the Tribes: oi 

these Abraham had apparently a Book (Ixxxvii. 19) and the others followed his tradition: 
(2) Moses and Jesus, who each left a scripture: these scriptures are still extant, though 

* 54 - 

S.2 A. 137-140 


As *At * 

Suffice thee as against them/ 
And He is the All-Hearing, 

The All-Knowing. 

138. (Our religion) 

Takes its hue from Allah 1 17 
And who can give a better hue 
Than Allah. It is lie. 

Whom we worship. 

13 ( >. Say: Will ye dispute 

With us about Allah* seeing 
That He is our Lord 
And your Lord; that we 
Arc responsible for our doings 
And ye for yours; and that 
We arc sincere (in our faith) 

In Him? 

140. Or 13 * do ye say that 
Abraham* IsmaTI, Isaac* 

Jacob and the 1 Vibes were 
Jew r s or Christians? 

Say: Do ye know better 
Than Allah? Ah! who 
is more unjust than those 
Who conceal the testimony 

"aj ; 

not in their pristine form; and (3) other scriptures* Prophets* or Messengers of Allah* 
not specifically mentioned in die Qur-an (xi. 78). We make no difference between any 
of these. Their Message (in essentials) was one* and that is the basts of Islam. 

136. Wc are thus in the true line of those who follow the one and indivisible Message 
of die One Allah, wherever delivered. If others narrow it or corrupt it* it is they who 
have left I he faith and created a division or schism. But Allah sees and knows all. And He 
will protect His own* and His support will be infinitely more precious dum the suppori 
which men can give. 

137. Sibgat. the root-meaning implies a dye or colour. 

138. The alternative is with the question in the last verse. Do you dispute with us 
although wc worship the same God as you and claim that ours is the same religion as 
that of your ancestors? Or do you really assert that Abraham and his son and his sons’ 
sons, who founded the Tribes long before Moses, followed your Jewish religion as you 
know it? History of course proves that claim absurd. If the Christians claim that these 
Patriarchs knew of and followed the teaching of Jesus, the claim is still more absurd,- 
except in the sense of Islam dial Allah’s teaching is one in all ages. 

Or*J & ijip'p'. ji 

- - 4 

- 55 - 

S.2 A, 140-142 

J. 1 JjVl 

Y oOJl 

Thcy have from Allah? 

Hut Allah is rml unmindful 
Of what ye do! 

[41. That was a people that hath 
Passed away. They shall reap 
The fruit of what they did. 

And ye of what ye do! 

Ye shall not be asked!- 
About what they duh m 


The Fools among the people 140 
Will say: “What hath turned 
Them from the Qihla 141 to which 
They were used?” Say: 

To Allah belong both Hast and West: 


,£3ji zrtas&z&M; 

“bln* ell. lT 1 At: 

139. Verse 134 began a certain argument, which is now rounded off in the same words 
in this verse. The argument is that it is wrong 1o claim a monopoly for Allah's Message; 
it is the same for all peoples and in nil ages: if il undergoes local variations or variations 
according to times and seasons those variations pass away. This leads to the argument 
in the remainder of the Sura that with the renewal of the Message and the birth of a 
new People, a new ordinances become appropriate, and they are now expounded. 

140. Nds = People, the unthinking multitude that sway to and fm, instead of being 
firm ia Allah's Way. The reference here is to the idolaters, the Hypocrites, and the party 
of Jews who were constantly seeking to “entangle in their talk,” Al- Mustafa and his 
disciples in Madinah even as the Pharisees and the Saddueees of Jesus’s day iried to 
entangle Jesus (Matt, xxii, 15, 23). 

141. Qihla = the direction to which Muslims turn in prayer. Islam lays great stress 
on social prayer in order to emphasise our universal Brotherhood and mutual co- 
operation. For such prayer, order, punctuality, precision, symbolical postures, and a 
common direction are essential, so that the Imam (leader) and all his congregation may 
face one way and offer their supplications to Allah. In the early days, before they were 
organised as a people, they followed as a symbol for their Qihla the sacred city of 
Jerusalem, sacred both to the Jews and the Christians, the people of the Book. This 
symbolised their allegiance to the continuity of Allah's revelation. When, despised and 
persecuted, they were turned out of Makkah and arrived in Madinah, Al-Muslafa under 
divine direction began to organise its people as an Ummat , an independent people, with 
laws and riluals of their own. Al that stage the Ka'ha was established as Qihla, thus going 
back to the earliest centre, with which the name of Abraham was connected, and 
traditionally also the name of Adam. Jerusalem still remained (and remains) sacred in 
the eyes of Islam on account of its past, but Islam is a progressive religion, and Its new 
symbolism enabled it to shake off the tradition of a dead past and usher in the era of 
untrammelled freedom dear to the spirit of Arabia. The change took place about [16'/z] 
months after Hijrat. 

- 56 - 

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Euounr luejsi Aq pruuurp uoqisod oqi s; ipng mpsnf jo ssnea aqi m ouDMOiut oi Apeoi 
pue i -3&p3]MO(tfi puuq-isjij qjiA\ paddinha ‘qsijpsutt a q jsniu ssauztM aqj. AquEUSoq} 
Aq passajoid 44 $S3Ui|p|JO,w*J9qio f . nuiajjxa aqi put? wtq iqcsopj aqj jo LU5i[ruuoj 
3U13IJX3 aip ‘33UBJSUI k>j "quia 0} SI tu b | s ] JO uoissmi oqi saauna'BABlixa qsijps jpip |]e 
Stnurud *iuaqi no inaq o) uoseai jo iqdi| aqi sfuuq puu 'uiDtp tm^pq saujoa ssduiml 
isnf v stuiup i u b3 r a r j j \ 3 .iaur \pR Aaqi -aindsqi sunsjad oasi uaip\\ ft- 1 

*|SBS put: jsoas 

"ipnos "quay ‘miqsj jo uojsucdxa pidiu m|i Aq Aioisiq ui paAOjd sea\ sir l p|JOA\ p|Q aqi 

LEI LlOlJISOd 31E!PDL1I^3JIM UI? U| Sf LiUpUy A ||l!Aiqdlotf03Q A3Blp31lIJ3JU ] JO ^UjUB3lU [UJ3I]| 

Dtp jo qanoj b sordini ospi (/rwaiJ pjoM aiqruv aqi infl + uoiSipj |«3tpBjd 'joqos k si \\ 
\ipis joqim uo sodue^babjixo |]g piaAe oj st iui:|S[ jo 33U3SS3 oqx :p3Dmijnq A psuf xtl 

(tmmuf}) uoimu a\au tj se uoiibuiubSjo juoA jo joquiAs r. sb luopom 
is out pUE \uoisiq ui niapuE isoui 1 umo inm jo njqio ?- noA 3 uia] 3 A{j 

f: r ^Prf 

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5^3^* i [C^r ^ ^rr? 

r^f fi 

l[E|IV p]noM I3A0U pay 
qp?ltV Aq papin-i? asoqi ox 
ido^xs ^nojunuunu (sEuBtp y) 

SUM J[ po^puj -{lH]iy Dip UJOJj) 

} [ spoi| Jpqi uo Hill l ppiOAV oqA\ 

pDA\0[]0j oqM Dsoqj isdi o) ajuq 

*pD$n isjitm noqi qoujAv ox 
iqqjf) Dip poiuioddi? d\\ puy 

SS 3 U 11 M 2 JD^UDSSDIAJ Dljl puy 

‘suonuu nqj jdaq 
^sdssdujiay Dq iq^iUJ dA prqx 
^■pDDuepiq Ajisnf wunuf] uy 
noA jo Dptnu da\ :h ^M1 

■jqfiuijs si imp At^\\ h ox 
II iaa dj [ moqA\ qiopinS dh 



^ r ! IfT ! i 

IRP Z t 

£frl*ZH*V c*S 

S.2 A. 143-144 

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Make your faith of no effect, 146 
For Allah is to all people 
Most surely full of Kindness, 
Most Merciful. 

144 yy 0 SCL » the turning 

Of thy face (for guidance) 

To the heavens: 1 * now 
Shall We turn thee 
To a Oibla that shall 
Please thee. Turn then 
Thy face in the direction 
Of the Sacred Mosque; UH 
Wherever ye are, turn 
Your faces in that direction. 

^ J *T > ^ * * ** f ^ * <r 

t\ m . J ^ a j y 


,/rt ~ sf 

14ft. Whai became of prayer with the Jerusalem Oibla? It was equally efficacious 
before the new Oibla was ordained, Allah regards our faith: every act of true and genuine 
faith is efficacious with Him. even if formalists pick holes in such acts. 

147. This shows the sincere desire of AbMtistafu to seek light from above in the 
matter of the Qihla. Until ihe organisation of his own People into a well-knit community, 
with its distinctive laws and ordinances, he followed a practice based on the fact that the 
Jews and Christians looked upon Jerusalem as a sacred city. But there was no universal 
Oibla among them. Some Jews turned towards Jerusalem, especially during the Captivity, 
as vve shall see later. At I he time of our Prophet, Jerusalem was in the hands of the 
Byzantine Empire, which was Christian. But the Christians oriented their churches to the 
East (hence tile word "orientation"), which is a point of the compass, and not the 
direction of any sacred place, The fact of the altar being in the East does not mean that 
every worshipper has his face to the east: for, according at least to modern practice, the 
seats in a church are so placed that different worshippers may face in different directions 
The Preacher of Unity naturally wanted, in this as in other matters, a symbol of complete 
unity, and his heart was natural Iv delighted when the Oibla towards the Ka*ba was settled. 
Its connection with Abraham gave it great antiquity: its character of being an Arab centre 
made it appropriate when the Message came in Arabic, and was preached ih rough tire 
union of the Arabs: at the time it was adopted, the tilde Muslim community was shut 
out of it, being exiles in Madinah but it became a symbol of hope and eventual triumph, 
of which Muhammad lived to see die fulfilment: and it also became the centre and 
gathering ground of all peoples in the universal pilgrimage, which was instituted with it, 

14S. The Sacred Mosque i,e. the mosque wherein the Ka'ha is located, in ihe sacred 
city of Makkah It is not correct to suggest that the command making the Ka‘ba the Oibla 
abrogates ii. 115, where it is stated that East and West belong to Allah. This is perfectly 
true at all limes, before and after the institution of the Oibla. As if to emphasise this, 
the same words about East and West are repeated in ibis very passage: see »i. 142 above. 
Where the hqan mentions tmmukh in this connection. 1 am sorry l cannot follow that 
opinion, unless mansukh is defined in a special way, as some of the commentators do. 

-58 - 

S.2 A. 144-146 

The people of the Book 
Know well that that is 
The truth from their Lord, 

Nor is Allah unmindful 
Of what they do. 

145, Even if thou vverl to bring 
To the people of the Book 
All the Signs {together). 

They would not follow 
Thy Oibla; nor art thou 
Going to follow their Oibla; 

Nor indeed will they follow 1 
Each other's Oibla. If thou 
After the knowledge hath reached 


Wert to follow their (vain) 

Desires, -then wert thou 
Indeed (clearly) in the worng* 

146, The people of the Book 
Know this as they know 

||p lli iil Cj j ^ 


■* 4 m* Jl ** Jl ^ ^ >■ ^ j ^ ^ 

146. Glimmerings of such a Oibla were already foreshadowed in Jewish and Christian 
practice but its universality was only perfected in Islam 

I5li Sec u 147 to ii, 144 above. 

The Jews and Christians had a glimmering of the Qibla idea, but in their attitude 
of self-sufficiency they were not likely to welcome the Oibla idea as perfected in Islam. 
Nor is Islam, after the fuller knowledge which it has received, likely to revert to the 
uncertain , imperfect, and varying ideas of orientation held previously. 

A very clear glimpse of the old Jewish practice in the matter of the Udda and the 
importance attached lo it is found in the book of Daniel, v*. 10. Daniel was a righteous 
man of princely Lineage and lived about 006-538 B.C". He was carried off to Babylon by 
Nebuchadnezzar, the Assyrian, but was still living when Assyria was overthrown by the 
Medcs and Persians. In spite of the “captivity" of the Jews, Daniel enjoyed the highest 
offices of state at Babylon, hut he was ever true to Jerusalem, His enemies (under the 
Persian monarch) got a penal law passed against any one who ' asked a petition of any 
god or man for 36 days" except the Persian King. But Daniel continued true to 
Jerusalem, 'itis windows being open in his chamber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon 
his knees three limes a day. and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did 

- 59 - 

S.2 A. 146-149 


Their own sons: 1 '' 1 but some 
Of them conceal the truth 
Which they themselves know. 

147. The Truth is from thy Lord: 
So be not at all in doubt, 


148. To each is a goal 

To which Allah^tums him; 

Then strive together {as in a race) 
Towards all that is good* 
Wheresoever ye are, 

Allah will bring you 
Together. For Allah 
Hath power over all things. 

149* From whence so ever 

Thou star test forth , l?J turn 

' > < +* 

151. The People of the Book should have known all This as well as “they knew their 
own sons,' 1 as their past Traditions and teaching should have made them receptive of the 
new Message. Some commentators construe the demonstrative pronoun “this"' to refer to 
the Prophet. In that case the interpretation would he: The People of the Book know 
Muhammad as well as they know their own sons: they know him to he true and upright: 
they know him to be in the line of Abraham: they know him to correspond to the 
description of the prophet foretold among themselves: but selfishness induces some of 
them to act against their own knowledge and conceal the truth. 

152. Truth only comes from Allah, and it remains truth, however men might try to 
conceal it or throw doubts on it, 

153. The question is how we are to construe the pronoun huwa in the original. The 
alternative translation would he: “To each is a goal to which he turns"'. 

The simile of life being a race in which we all zealously run forward to the one goal. 
viz. , the goal of good, may lie applied individually and nationally This supplies another 
argument of the Ka*ba Qibla. viz,, the unity of goal, with diversity of races, traditions 
and temperaments. 

154. The simile of a race is continued, and so the Qihla command is repeated from 
that point of view. In ii. 144 it was mentioned as the new r symbol of the new nation 
(Muslim); now* it is shown as the symbol of Good, at which we should alt aim, from 
whichever point we started. e.g, as Jews or Christians* or our individual point of view: 
the Gibla will unite us as a symbol of the Goal of the Future. In li, 150 below, it is 
repeated: first for the individual, on the ground of uniformity and the removal of all 
occasions of dispute and argument; and secondly for the Muslim people, on the same 
ground, as a matter of discipline. There is another little harmony in the matter of the 


- 60 - 

S.2 A, 149-151 

1.2 jUl *ji-l 

s , 

Thy face in the direction 
Of the Sacred Mosque; 

That is indeed the truth 
From thy Lord* And Allah 
Is not unmindful 
Of what ye do. 

1 5th So from whencesoever 
Thou startest forth, turn 
Thy face in the direction 
Of the Sacred Mosque; 

And wheresoever ye are. 

Turn your face thither: 

That there he no ground 
Of dispute against you 
Among the people. 

Except those of them that are 
Bent on wickedness; so fear 
Them not. but fear Me; 

And that I may complete 
My favours on you. and ye 
May (consent to) be guided; 

151. A similar (favour 

Have ye already received) 1 ^ 

In that We have sent 
Among you a Messenger 
Of your own, rehearsing to you 

oj? ^ j 

^ ^ j ^ 

V ^ io ,1a— 1 

repetitions. Note that the race and starting point argument begins at ii. 149 and is 
rounded off in the first pari of ii 150; while the national and general argument beginning 
at ii. 144 is rounded off in the latter part of ii . 150. The latter argument includes the 
former, and is more widely worded: ** wheresoever ye are": which in the Arabic expression 
would imply three things: in whatever circumstances yc are, or at whatever time ye are, 
or in whatever place ye are. 1 have spoken lie fore of a sort of musical harmony in verbal 
repetitions: here there is a sort of pictorial harmony, as of a larger circle symmetrically 
including smaller concentric circle. 

155. This verse should be read with ii. 150, of which the sentence is here completed. 
The argument is that in the grant of the Ka*ha Qihla. God was perfecting religion and 
fulfilling the prayer for the future made by Abraham. That prayer was threefold: (1) That 
Makkah should be made a sacred Sanctuary (ii 126): (2) that a truly believing (Muslim) 
nation should be raised, with places of devotion there (ii. 128): and (3) that an Apostle 
should be sent among the Arabs with certain qualities (ii, 129), which arc set out there 
and again repeated here to complete the argument. 

- 61 - 

S.2 A. 151-155 





Our Signs, and purifying 
You, and instructing you 
In Scripture and Wisdom. 

And in new Knowledge. 

Then do ye remember 1 
Me; 1 will remember 
You. Be grateful to Me, 

And reject not Faith. 


O ye who believe! seek help 
With patient Perseverance 1 
And Prayer: for God is with those 
Who patiently persevere. 

And say not of those 
Who are slain in the way 1 ^ 

Of Allah: “They are dead/* 

Nay, they are living, 

Though ye perceive (it) not. 

Be sure wc shall test you 
With something of fear 







y4>? i? 

jf rtjj' J— i — - j i>4 jb 4 - 1 J J 



156. The word ■ remember"' is loo pale a word for zikr v which has now acquired a 

large number of associations in our religious literature. In ils verbid signification it implies: 
to remember: to praise by frequently mentioning: to rehearse; to celebrate or 

commemorate: to make much of: to cherish the memory of as a precious possession. 

157. See u. 45 and n. An additional meaning implied iu sabr is self-restraint. Haqqani 
defines it in Iris lafsir as following Reason and restraining Fear, Anger, and Desire, What 
can be a higher reward for patience, perseverance, self-restraint and constancy than that 
Allah should be with us? For this promise opens the door to every kind of spiritual well- 

158. Tile ‘ patient perseverance and prayer " mentioned in the last verse is not mere 
passivity. It is active striving in the way of Truth, which is the way of Allah Such striving 
is the spending of one's self in Allah’s way, either through our property or through our 
own lives, or the lives of those nearest and dearest to us, or it may be t lie loss of all 
the fruits of a lifetime's labour not only in material goods but in some intellectual or 
moral gain, some position which seemed iu our eyes to he eminently desirable in itself, 
but which we must cheerfully sacrifice if necessary for the Cause, With such sacrifice: our 
apparent loss may he our real gain: he that loses his life may really gain it; and the 
rewards or “fruits’' that seem lost were mere impediments on our path to real inward 









r _3j* 


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- 62 - 

S.2 A. 155-158 J. 2 jtlWjJLl 

sU iA t , lAg vAr 'A? Aa Al ? A C }*0~C A'LJte 

■ • . ■ 

And hunger, some loss 
In goods, lives and (he fruits 
^ (Of your toil), but give 
Glad tidings * 1 "" to those 
Who patiently persevere 

156. Who say, when afflicted 
With calamity: %4 To Allah 
Wc belong, and to Him 
Is our return 

157. They arc those on whom 
(Descend) blessings from their Lord, 
And Mercy, 

And they are the ones 
That receive guidance, 

158. Behold! Safa and Marwa 
Are among the Symbols 1 NJ 
Of Allah. So if those who visit 
The House 1 * 1 in the Season 
Or at other times. 

s A A' - 

i # M -'f ^ 

■ 4 #' 

p j'j 

159. The glad tidings are the blessings of Allah in ii 157 or (which is the same thing) 
the promise in ii. 153 that Allah will be with them 

I fill. The virtue of patient perseverance in faith leads to the mention of two symbolic 
monuments of that virtue. These are the two little hills of Safa and Marwa now absorbed 
in the city of Makkah and close to the well of Zanwaru Here, according to tradition, 
the lady I lajar, mother of the infant Isma'jl, prayed for water in the parched desert, and 
in her eager quest round these hills, she found her prayer answered and saw the Zanwam 
spring. Unfortuatdy the Pagan Arabs had placed a male and a female idol here, and their 
gross and superstitious rites caused offence to the early Muslims. They felt some hesitation 
in going round these places during the Pilgrimage. As a matter of fact they should have 
known that the Ka'ba (the House of Allah) had been itself defiled with idols, and was 
sanctified again by the purity of Muhammad's life and teaching. The lesson is that the 
most sacred things may be turned to the basest uses: that we are not therefore necessarily 
to ban a thing misused: that if our intentions and life are pure Allah wilt recognise them 
even if the world cast stones at us because of some evil association* which they join with 
what we do. or with the people we associate with, or with the places which claim our 

161. The House — the Sacred Mosque, the Ka*ba. The Season of regular Hajj 
culminates in the visit to Arafat on the ninth day of the month of Zul-hijja, followed 
by the circuma tribulation of the Ka'ba A visit to the Sacred Mosque and ihc performance 
of the rites of pilgrimage at any other time is called an Umnt, The rites are the same 
in either case, except that the ’Arafat rites are omitted in the 'Umru. The Safa and Marwa 
are included among the Monuments, as pointing to one of the highest of Muslim virtues. 

- 63 - 

S.2 A. 158-161 

J. 2 Jli)t *jir\ 

jAf jAr ■ 

Y 1 yiJ\ 

Should compass them round* 

Ii is no sin in them. 

And if any one obeyeth his own 
Impulse to Good*- 162 
Be sure that Allah 
Is He Who recognise th 
And knoweth. 

159, Those who conceal 

The clear (Signs) We have 
Sent down, and the Guidance, 
After We have made it 
Clear for the People 
In the Book.-on them 
Shall he Allah's curse, 

And the curse of those 
Entitled to curse.- 163 

160, Except those who repent 
And make amends 

And openly declare (the Truth): 
To them I turn; 

For I am Oft -Returning* 

Most Merciful 

161, Those who reject Faith. 

And die rejecting*- 

On them is Allah's curse. 

And the curse of angels* 

And of all mankind; 

\ jJC ^ Cs jdi j 

\ \ jZJlJS ' SiW 1 

J^'o\ | ; 

U-l J : 

162, The impulse should be to Good; if once we are sure of this, we must obey il 
without hesitation, whatever people may say. 

163, Those entitled to curse: i.c.. angels and mankind (sec it. 161 below): the cursed 
ones will deprive themselves of the protection of Allah and of the angles, and of the good 
washes of mankind, because by contumaciously rejecting Faith* they not only sin against 
Allah hut are false to their own manhood* which Allah created in the "best of moulds" 
(O. *ev. 4) The terrible curses denounced in the Old Testament are set out in Dcut 
xxviii. 15*68* There is one difference. Here it is for the deliberate rejection of Faith* a 
theological term for the denying of our higher nature. There it is for a breach of the 
Least pari ol the ceremonial Law. 

VA% ; A'Vr*%\, AY A A ^ 

f v fTy\ W* J y ij' v i /y^'v * 













- 64 - 

S.2 A. 162- 164 

162. They will abide therein: 164 
Their penalty will not 

E3e lightened, nor will 
Respite be iheir (lot). 

163. And your God 
Is One God: 

There is no god 
Bui He, 

Most Gracious, 

Most Merciful, 165 


164. Behold! In the creation 

Of the heavens and the earth. 

In the alternation 

Of the Night and the Day; 

In the sailing of the ships 

Through the Ocean 

For the profit of mankind; 

In the rain which Allah 
Sends down from the skies. 
And the life which He gives 


To an earth that is dead; 

In the beasts of all kinds 
That He scatters 
Through the earth; 

In the change of the winds, 
And the clouds which they 



^ 4 ' 

O- y JuS 

164. 77ierW#i = in the curse. A curse is not a matter of words: it is a terrible state, 
opposite to the state of Grace. Can man curse? Not of course in the same sense in which 
we speak of the curse of Allah, A mere verbal curse is of no effect. Hence the English 
saying: l 'A causeless curse will not coupe. " Hut if men are oppressed or unjustly treated, 
their cries can ascend to Allah in prayer, and then it becomes Allah’s ‘'wrath'* or curse, 
the deprivation of Allah’s Grace as regards the wrong-doer. 

165. Where the terrible consequences of Evil, i.e. t the rejection of Allah, are 
mentioned, there is always stress laid on Allah’s attributes of Grace and Mercy. In this 
case Unity is also stressed, because we have just been told about the Qiblu symbol of 
unity and are about to pass the theme of unity in diversity, in Nature and in the social 
laws of human society. 

- 65 - 

- m - 

, ; V,. y i vy\. , s *= y .y ^ • t y. V .y ■ 

Aj i lAr \Ajf ^ a i l i v/ ! f \A t j/'c jAf lAj? ^Ar ^Ap tAc 'jA.r "W; 

inns o] mopsim rii| | puq nm ji " ij t: || v J° J3MO(j pun 
II!M i|i| a\ njq utminij juo 3uf]U|0iJO3 pm: ptimunffju nip jjo Siupunoj *Aqs mp 01 qncq 

3 tiion nm A^s nip m no 3uioif sassaooid impo puu uomqpui innpt: Amp smup ye iu 
!uns nip jo dju[ 3 nip jadumi Amp Arp-pliu ju :£inunq ins tins jo siJutqi n.m spmqn Assay 
aqX muj 3 uiai<J jo imp snpjsnq spnop jo psdse jaqiotre sj njny „savu|s t , nqjj Aqs nip 
in spnop mp 3A]Jp sptnm pnyiuosmd my niutfiAitu pun njo|dgs nj SmuucSaq isiif si uuiu 
ipiqm 'iju nip jo uoiSm nip ‘spmm (njjapuom mp oi uo sn spun| sjqp suopiundo sniruujq 
jo ptmoj mp oi Supnqujuos (|c- 4 3jn ‘spnsin ‘snjnjusin flui|Mnj3 Sujpnpui 'SUminmu apivi 
it suq ^siseoq,, pnpqsuiui pjoM my 'saimuais SuiAfj jo spin >g hit putt Apiun jo nqnui nm 
nsn mp pm: sjnqnmjflu jn pnpuuunj mu dm njnjj Stiud^ mp lit uounnTjTAiAni jnq puu 
djiuc^ jo qiuap s^jniui^ mp usaMisq jsiuiuon nip jo pnpimum mu n.Vi njnq pin: *piiE| 
jo Xp|i]inj mp oi spnnj miu m^L ‘tiiBi nip Aq pmjqdiunxn jnqunj si *puuj pun *A^s ‘uns 
tmn.vqnq su nqrq-puu-DApi nip puu *putq uuip ss3| on sn a\jns snqi suns niy unm pm: 
unm unnsvpq sr: nsrpuuqmnuj puu suoipxmmiuiuoD joj *suns nip ssojsu (ji scq ixnj |i:u|3uo 
nip su) JJuiMoy^ sdit|s Apiujs nip SAjmtaq s t n.miuu jo suuni m ^joa\ mp jo ^uitp m:n 3M 
puu :^jom joj Aup mp pin: psm ioj iqHiu nq \ aqo^ mo jo snpnjiiu| mp puu suosung 
mp ipiM uonEJnp u; i?ui^uuip pit puu nqntfni pqifiu puu tup jn uonuiunip: mp si quun 
nqi puu susAtpq nqi jo suopu|njjnjut nqj iuojj 3up|nsni uounuiounqd tup-APAn Eui^ujs 
jsoui nqj^ njij iia\o srq oj junu os pa pm: niotum 'uoiiuui^uuji s uuiu iq pninnun snnuds 
npiM mp 'quun mp pm: sun.opq mp jo ,tjo|fl nip qqA\ uiSnq n\\ uiopsi.n puu nnun^ipnim 
umo s s uuj\ oi |B3tidu m: oi dn puaj puu qpsLUU] uum oi Aipipi puu ‘ismoiI 'Ajnunq jo 
snjiqunj nip mop un^iq mu suSis; nqj niniu^j ]o XqsjnAip jsnpjAS nqj ui uSisnp jo A pun 
mp si su3i^ snoipuoM siy Suotuu puu :nuo si qeyv 3Jnj33uqwu Ajujniq su nmN 


t|3[i|M snnuuuipjo put: smu| tup-ApAn nip ioj sn Suuudnjd pm: ‘mm a juo jo Ainunq nqi 
3llpuuqun ’ndunspuiq n in gqq c mu spmqs niJcssud njtpuj^ pmnqupctu stiy yy] 

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U R 1IV P ai * *J3mod ipi sfuojog 
qiqiV <n pup rjusiuqsjunj oqx 
33S pjnoM Aoqj l p[oqog 
‘nos p| non saoojq^uuii aqx 
.l|uo j| qE||v JtiJ 
OAO] Jpqi II j 3 U 1 m oyjo A Q 
ojb qpuj jo DSOip infl 
i|U||V 3AO] ppioqs Amp sy 
:{M e HV l^nbo sy 

‘qciiv sopisoq sjnqjQ 

(djqsjoM joj) oq^v 


w| 'dsim Dili leqj ajdoad lr joj 

su3l^ DIE pDDpUI (DJDJJ) 
:qyeD Dip puE Aqs ,mp unamiog 
sdae[s ipqi oqij puijL 


S.2 A. 165-167 

J. 2 jldl *£\ 

T i/J' bj^ 

166, Then would those 
Who are followed 

Clear themselves of those 
Who follow (them): 

They would see the Chastisement 

And all relations 

Between them would be cut off. 

167, And those who followed 
Would say: *‘lf only 

We had one more chance, 

We would clear ourselves 
Of them, as they have 
Cleared themselves of us,” 

Thus will Allah show them 
(The fruits of) their deeds 
As (nothing but) regrets. 

Nor will there he a way 
For them out of the Firc. lfvS 

i \y$\ yj l, Jlij 

167. Everything around and within us points to unity of purpose and design, -points 
to Allah. Yet there arc foolish persons (unrighteous those who deliberately use the 
choice given them to go wrong). They think something else is equal to Allah. Perhaps 
they even do tip service to Allah, but their heart is in their fetish,— unlike the heart of 
the righteous, who are wholly devoted and absorbed in the love of Allah If only the 
unrighteous could see the consequences, they would see the terrible Penalty, and that all 
Power is in Allah’s hands, not in that of any one else. Who are these others who are 
used as fetishes by the misguided? It may be: (I) creatures of their own imagination, or 
of their faculties misused; the idea lying behind idols is akin to this, for no intelligent 
idol- worshipper owns to worshipping stocks and stones; or (2) good leaders whose names 
have been misused out of perversity to erect them to a position of equality with Allah; 
or (3) Powers of evil that deliberately mislead. When it comes to the inevitable 
consequences of blasphemy and the rejection of Allah, the eyes of all are opened and 
these false and artificial relations dissolve. The idea which was created into a fetish 
disowns its follower, i.c, is seen to have no reasonable basis in the life of the follower, 
and the follower is forced to renounce it as false. The good leaders whose names were 
misused would of course disown the misuse of e lie ir names, and ihe evil ones would take 
an unholy delight in exposing Ihe facts. The Reality is now irresistible, but alas! at wliat 

IfiK. Cf. iii. 156, via 36, xix. 39, Ixix. 50, xxv. 23. 

- 67 - 

S.2 A. 168-171 

J. 2 


V ijiJ! 


168. 0 ye people! 

Eat of what is on earth, 
Lawful and good; 169 
And do not follow 
The footsteps of Satan 
For lie is to you 
An avowed enemy. 


169, For he commands you 
Whm is evil 
And shameful. 

And that ye should say 
Of Allah that of which 
Ye have no knowledge. 

tfysjj \j 

170. When it is said to them: 

“Follow what Allah hath revealed:” 
They say: “Nay! we shall follow 
The ways of our fathers.” 

What! even though their fathers 
Were void of wisdom and guidance? 

171. The parable of those 
Who reject Faith is 
As if one were to shout 
Like a goal* herd, to things 

' *'<r 


169, We now come to the regulations about food. First (it, 168-71) we have an appeal 
to all people, Muslims, Pagans, as welt as the People of the Book; then (ii 172*73) to 
the Muslims specially; then (ii. 174-76) to the sou of men who then (as some do now) 
either believe in too much formalism or believe in no restrictions at alt. Islam follows 
the Golden Mean. All well-regulated societies lay down reasonable limitations. These 
become incumbent on all loyal members of any given society, and show what is "lawful" 
in that society. But if the limitations are reasonable, as they should be, ihe "lawful” will 
also coincide more and more with what is "good." 

Good: Taiyib = Pure, clean, wholesome, nourishing, pleasing to the taste. 

The general principle then would be: what is lawful and what is good, should be 
followed* not what is evil, or shameful, or foisted on by false ascription to divine 
injunctions, or what rests merely on the usage of ancestors, even 1 hough the ancestors 
were ignorant or foolish An example of a shameful custom would he that among the 
Pagan Arabs of taking congealed blood and eating it fried. 

7 : ’f 


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- 68 - 

t Jl 

Thai listen to nothing 
But calls and cries: 17(1 
Deaf, dumb, and blind, 171 
They are void of wisdom. 

172. O ye who believe! 

Eat of the good tilings 

Thai We have provided for you. 
And be grateful to Allah, 

If it is Him ye worship. 177 

173. He hath only forbidden you 
Dead meat, 173 and blood. 

And the flesh of swine. 

And that on which 

Any other name hath been invoked 
Besides that of Allah. 174 
Bui if one is forced by necessity. 
Without wilful disobedience, 

It \ 

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17lk If you reject all faith, the highest wisdom and the most salutary regulations are 
lost on you. You are like "dumb driven cattle” who can merely hear calls, but cannot 
distinguish intelligently between shades of meaning or subtle differences of values. 

171. Cf. iL 18, where we are told that the rejectors of faith are "deaf, dumb and 
blind: they will not return to the path.” Here the consequence of their not using their 
senses is that they Have no wisdom. In each context there is just the appropriate 

172. Gratitude for Allah's gifls is one form of worship. 

173. Dead meal: manat: carrion: animal that dies of itself: ihe original Arabic has 
a slightly wider meaning given to it in Fiqh (Religious Law): anything that dies of itself 
and is not expressly killed for food with the Takhir duly pronounced on it. But there 
are exceptions, fish and locusts are lawful, though they have not been made specially 
hatdt with the Takhir. 

174. For prohibited foods, cf Also Q. v. 3-4 vi, 12 L 138-146: etc. The teachers of 
Fiqh (Religious Law) work out the details with great elaboration. My purpose is to 
present general principles, not technical details. Carrion or dead meat and blood as 
articles of food would obviously cause disgust to any refined person. So would swine’s 
flesh where the swine live on offal. Where swine are fed artificially on clean food, the 
objections remain: (I) that they are filthy animals in other respects, and the flesh of filthy 
animals taken as food affects the eater; (2) that swine’s flesh has more fat than muscle- 
building material: and (3) that it is more liable to disease than other kinds of meat; e.g., 
trichinosis, characterised by hair-like worms in the muscular tissue. As to food dedicated 
to idols or false gods, it is obviously unseemly for the Children of Unity to partake of it. 

- 69 - 

S. 2 A. 173-176 

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Nor transgressing due limits, - 
Then is lie guiltless* 

For Allah is Oft-Forgiving 
Most Merciful. 

174. Those who conceal 

Allah's revelations in the Book, 
And purchase for them 
A miserable profit.— 

They swallow into themselves 1 s 
Naught but Fire; 

A Mali will not address them 
On the Day of Resurrection, 
Nor purify them: 

Grievous will he 
Their Chastisement. 

175. They are the ones 
Who buy Error 

In place of Guidance 
And Torment in place 
Of Forgiveness. 

Ah! what boldness 
(They show) for the Fire! 

176* (Their doom is) because 
Allah sent down die Book 
In truth hut those who seek 
Causes of dispute in the Book 

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175. "They eat nothing hut fire into their bellies” is a literal translation that produces 
an effect of rvide inelegance which is not in the Arabic words* Even in the matter of 
food and drinks* the mission of Islam is to avoid the extremes of lawlessness on the one 
hand and extreme formalism on the other* It has laid down a few' simple and very 
reasonable rules. Their infraction causes loss of health or physical powers in any case* 
But if there is further a spirit of subjective rebellion or fraud-passing off in the name 
of religion something which is far from the purpose, -the consequences become also moral 
and spiritual. Then it becomes a sin against Faith and Spirit. Continuing the physical 
simile, we actually swallow fire into ourselves. Imagine the torments which we should have 
if vve swallowed fire into our physical body! They would be infinitely worse in our spiritual 
state, and they would go on to the Day of Resurrection, when wc shall he deprived even 
of the words which the Judge speaks to a reasonable culprit, and we shall certainly not 
win His Grace and Mercy. 

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- 70 - 

S.2 A. 176-177 



It is not righteous ness 
Thai ye turn your faces 
Towards East or West; 

But it is righteousness- 
To believe in Allah 1 ™ 

And the Last Day, 

And the Angels, 

And the Book, 

And the Messengers; 

To spend of your substance. 
Out of love for Him, 

For your kin. 

For orphans. 

For the needy, 

For the wayfarer. 

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176. From the mere physical regulation we are at once lifted up into the sphere of 
morals and faith For ilie one acts and reacts on die other If we are const an ily carping 
at wholesome regulations, we shall do nothing hut cause division and schisms among the 
people, and ordered society would tend to break up. 

177. As il to emphasise again a warning against deadening formalism, we are given 

a beautiful description of the righteous and God-fearing man He should obey salutary 

regulations, but he should fix his ga/e on ihc love of Allah and the love of his fellow- 

men. We are given four heads: (l) our faith should be true and sincere; (2) we must 
he prepared to show u m deeds of charily to our fellow-men; (3) we must he good 
citizens, supporting social organisation: and (4) our own individual sou! must he firm and 
unshaken in all circumstances. They are interconnected, and yet can be viewed separately. 

178. Faith is not merely a matter of words. We must realise the presence and 

goodness of Allah. When wc do so, the scales fall from our eyes: all the falsities and 

fleeting nature of the Present cease to enslave us, for we see the Last Day as if it were 
to-day. We also sec Allah's working in His world and in us: His angles. His Messengers 
and His Message are no longer remote from us, hut come within our experience, 

179. Practical deeds of charity are of value when they proceed from love, and from 
no other motive. In this respect, also, out duties take various forms, which are shown 
in reasonable gradation: our kith and km; orphans (including any persons who arc without 
support or help): people who are in real need but who never ask (it is our duty to find 
them out, and they come before those who ask); the stranger, who is entitled to laws of 
hospitality; the people who ask and are entitled to ask, /, e . , not merely lazy beggars, but 
those who seek our assistance in some form or another (it is our duly to respond to 
them); and the slaves (we must do all we can to give or buy their freedom). Slavery has 
many insidious forms, and all are included. 


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- 71 * 

For those who ask, 

And for the ransom of slaves 
To he steadfast in prayer 
And give Zakai, 

To fulfil the contracts 
Which ye have made; 

And to be firm and patient, 1 * 
In pain (or suffering) 

And adversity. 

And throughout 
All periods of panic. 

Such are the people 
Of truth, the God-fearing. 

1 78. O ye who believe! 
The law of equality 

181). Charity and piety in individual cases do not complete our duties. In prayer and 
chanty, we must also look to our organised efforts: where there is a Muslim State, these 
are made through the State, in facilities for public prayer, and public assistance, and for 
the maintenance of contracts and fair dealing in all matters. 

18!. 'then come the Muslim virtues of firmness and patience. They are to “preserve 
the dignity of man. with soul erect" (Burns). Three sets of circumstances are specially 
mentioned for the exercise of this virtue: (I) bodily pain or suffering, (2) adversities or 
injuries of all kinds, deserved and underserved. and (3) periods of public panic, such as 
war, violence, pestilence, etc. 

182. Note first that this verse and die next make it dear that Islam has much 
mitigated the honors of the pre- Islamic custom of retaliation. In order to meet the strict 
claims of justice, equality is prescribed, with a strong recommendation for mercy and 
forgiveness. To translate qistls, therefore, by retaliation, is I think incorrect. The Latin 
legal term Lex Tulioms may come near it, but evert that is modified here. In any case 
it is best to avoid technical terms for things that are very different. "Retaliation" in 
English lias a wider meaning, equivalent almost to returning evil for evil, and would more 
fitly apply to the blood-feuds of ihe Days of Ignorance. Islam says: if you must take a 
life for a life, at least there should be some measure of equality in it. the killing of the 
slave of a tribe should not involve a blood fend where many free men would be killed; 
but the law of mercy, where it can be obtained by consent, with reasonable compensation, 
would he better. 

Our law of equality only takes account of three conditions in civil society: free for 
free, slave for slave, woman for woman. Among free men or woman, all are equal: you 
cannot ask that because a wealthy, or high-born, or influential man is killed, his life is 
equal to two or three lives among the poor or the lowly. Nor, in cases of murder, can 
you go into the value or abilities of a slave, A woman is mentioned separately because 
her position as a mother or an economic worker is different. She does not form a third 
class, but a division in the other two classes. One life having been lost, do not waste 

S.2 A. 177-178 

- 72 - 

S.2 A. 178-180 

Is prescribed to you 
In cases of murder : m 
The free for the free. 

The slave for the slave. 

The woman for the woman. 

But if any remission 
Is made by the brother 1 lfi4 
Of the slain, then gram 
Any reasonable demand, 185 
And compensate him 
With handsome gratitude. 

This is a concession 
And a Mercy 
From your Lord, 

After this whoever 
Exceeds the limits 
Shall be in grave chastisement, 

179, In the Law of Equality 
There is (saving of) Life 
To you. O ye men of 


That ye may 
Restrain yourselves. 

180, It is prescribed. 

When death approaches 
Any of you, if he leave 

Any goods, that he make a bequest 

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many lives in retaliation: at most, Ic I the Law take one life under strictly prescribed 
conditions, and shut the door to private vengeance or tribal retaliation. But if the 
aggrieved party consents (and this condition of consent is laid down to prevent worse 
evils), forgiveness and brotherly love is better, and the door of Mercy is kept open. In 
Western law, no felony can be compounded . 

183. The jurists have carefully laid down that the law of r/riw.y refers to murder only, 
Qisds is not applicable to manslaughter, due to a mistake or an accident. There, there 
would be no capital punishment, 

184. 77u- brother the term is perfectly general: all men are brothers in Islam. 

185. The whole penally can be remitted if the aggrieved party agrees, out of 
brotherly love. In meeting that demand the culprit or bis friends should equally be 
generous and recognise the good-will of the other side. 

* 73 - 

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To parents and next of kin. ,% 
According lo reasonable usage; 
This ik due 

From the God-fearing. 

181. If anyone changes the bequest 
After hearing it* 

The guilt shall he on those 
Who make the change. 

For Allah hears and knows 
(All things). 


182. But if anyone fears 

Partiality or wrong-doing J 
On the part of the testator. 

And brings about a settlement among 
(The parties concerned), 

There is no wrong in him: 

For Allah is Oft- Forgiving, 

Most Merciful. 

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1S6. There are rules of course for the disposal of intestate property. But it is a good 
thing that a dying man or woman should, of his own free- will* think of his parents and 
his next of kin, not in a spirit of injustice to others, but. in a spirit of love and reverence 
for those who have cherished him. He must, however, do it "according to reasonable 
usage": the limitations will he seen further on. 

!K7. A verbal will is allowed but it is expected that the testator will be just to his 
heirs and not depart from what is considered equitable. For this reason definite shares 
were laid down for heirs later (see. 0. iv. II. etc). These define or limit the testamentary 
power* but do not abrogate it. For example* amongst kin there are persons (e.g. r an 
orphan grandson in the presence of surviving sons) who would not inherit under the 
intestate scheme* and the testator might like to provide for them. Again, there may be 
outsiders for whom he may wish to provide, and jurists have held that he has powers 
of disposition up to one-third of Ids property. But he must not he partial to one heir 
a I the expense of another* or at tempi to defeat lawful creditors. If he tries to do this, 
those who are witnesses to his oral disposition may interfere in two ways. One way would 
be to persuade the testator to change his bequest before he dies. The other way would 
be. after death, lo gel the interested parties together and ask them to agree to a more 
equitable arrangement. In such a ease they are acting in good faith, and there is no fraud. 
They are doing nothing wrong. Islam approves of every lawful device for keeping brethren 
at peace, without litigation and quarrels. Except for this, the changing of the provisions 
of a Will is a crime, as it is under all Law. 

- 74 - 

S.2 A. 183-184 

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O ye who believe 
Fasting is prescribed to you 
As it was prescribed 1SS 
To those before you. 

That ye may (learn) 

184, (Fasting) for a fixed h 
Number of days; 

But if any of you is ill. 
Or on a journey, 1 * 1 
The prescribed number 
(Should be made up) 
From days later. 

For those who can do it 1 

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188. /U ir fV9J /?wt'f/k , (/; this does not mean that die Muslim fast is like the other 
fasts previously observed, in the number of days, in the time or manner of the fast, or 
in other incidents: il only means that the principle of self-denial by fasting is not a new 

189. This verse should he read with the following verses, 185-88, in order that the 
incidents of the physical fast may be fully understood with reference to its spiritual 

The Muslim fast is not meant for self-torture. Although it is stricter than other fasts, 
it also provides alleviations for special circumstances, tf it were merely a temporary 
abstention from food and drink, it would he salutary to many people, yyho habitually eat 
and drink to excess. The instincts for food, drink, and sex are strong in the animal nature, 
and temporary restraint from all these enables the attention to be directed to higher 
things. This is necessary through prayer, contemplation and acts of charity, not of the 
showy kind, but by seeking out those really in need Certain standards are prescribed, 
but much higher standards are recommended. 

190. For journeys, a minimum standard of three marches is prescribed by some 
Commentators: others make it more precise by naming a distance of 16 farsakhs, 
equivalent to 48 miles, A journey of 8 or 9 miles cm foot is more tiring than a similar 
one by bullock cart. There are various degrees of fatigue in riding a given distance on 
horseback or by camel or in a comfortable train or by motor car or by steamer, 
aeroplane, or airship. In my opinion the standard must depend on the means of 
locomotion and on the relative resources of the traveller. It is better to determine it in 
each ease according to circumstances, 

191. Those who can do it with hardship: such as aged people, or persons specially 
circumstanced. The Shafts would include a woman expecting a child, or one who is 
nursing a baby, but on this point opinion is not unanimous, some holding that they ought 
to put in the fasts later, when they can. 

- 75 - 

S.2 A. 184-185 

J 2 jUUjJM 

185. Kamadhan is the (month) 
hi which was sent down 
The Qur-iln, as a guide 
To mankind, also clear (Signs) 
For guidance and judgment 11,2 
(Between right and wrong). 

So every one of you 
Who is present (at his home) 
During that month 
Should spent it in fasting. 

But if any one is ill. 

Or on a journey, 
the prescribed period 
(Should he made up) 

By days later. 

Allah intends every facility 
Fur you: He does not want 
To put you to difficulties. 

(He wants you) to complete 
The prescribed period. 

And to glorify Him 1 *'' 

In that He has guided you; 

And perchance ye shall he 


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l*)2. Judgment (between right and wrong): Furqiin = the criterion or standard by 
which wc judge between right and wrong, See if 55 n. 

193. The regulations arc again and again coupled with an insistence on two things: 
(a) the facilities and concessions given, and (b) the spiritual significance of the fast, without 
which it is like an empty shell without a kernel If we realise this, we shall look upon 
Ramadhan. not as a burden, but as a blessing, and shall be duly grateful for the lead 
given to us in this matter, 

— - — ■ — 

- 76 - 

S.2 A.I8M87 

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When My servants 
Ask thee concerning Me* 

I am indeed 

Close (to them): 1 respond 
To the prayer of every 
Suppliant when he culleth on Me: 
Let them also* with a will* 

Listen to My call. 

And believe in Me: 

Rial they may walk 
In the right \vay. m 

187, Permitted to you 

On the night of the fasts* 

Is the approach to your wives. 

They are your garments 
And ye are their garments. 3 ^ 

Allah knoweth what ye 
Used to do secretly among 


But He turned to you 
And forgave you: 

So now associate with them, 

And seek what Allah 
Hath ordained for you, 1 '* 1 
And eat and drink* 

Until the white thread 

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194. these verses 18ft and 188 are not foreign to the subject of Kamadhan. hut 
emphasise its spiritual aspect. Here we are told of Prayer and the nearness of Allah, and 
in 188 we are asked not to '"eat up” other peoples substance. 

195. Men and women are each other’s garments: Le< t they are for mutual support, 
mutual comfort* and mutual protection, fitting into each other as a garment fits the body. 
A garment also is both for show and concealment. The question of sex is always delicate 
to handle: here we are told that even in such matters a clear* Open* and honest course 
is better than fraud or self-deception, The sex instinct is classed with eating and drinking, 
an animal thing to he restrained, but not to be ashamed of The three things are 
prohibited during the fast by day. hut permitted after the fast is broken at night till the 
next fast commences. 

1 9ft, There is difference of opinion as to the exact meaning of this, I would connect 
this as a parallel clause with the clause "cat and drink"* which follows, all three being 
governed by "until the while thread"* etc. Thai is* all three things must stop when the 
fast begins again in the early morning, Or it may mean: What is permitted is well enough, 
but seek the higher things ordained for you. 

5 yi’V 2 yV 

- 77 - 

Of dawn appear to you 

Distinct from its black thread ; 1 '* 7 

Then complete your fast 

Till the night appears ; m 

Hut do not associate 

With your wives 

While ye are in retreat 1 ^ 

in the mosques. Those are m 

Limits (set by) Allah: 

Approach not night thereto. 

Thus doth Allah make clear 
His Signs to men: that 
They may learn self-restraint. 

And do not eat up 
Your property among yourselves 
For vanities* nor use it 
As hail for the judges. 

With intent that ye may 

Eat up wrongfully and knowingly 

A little of (other) people's property /’ 1 

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147, Those in touch with Nature know the beautiful effects of early dawn. First 
appear thin white indefinable streaks of light in the east: then a dark zone supervenes; 
followed by a beautiful pinkish white zone dearly defined from the dark. This is the true 
dawn; after the fast begins. 

I4N. 7'i'K the night appears; From the actual practice of the Holy Prophet* this is 
tightly interpreted to mean: ‘Till sunset. M 

149. This verse refers to the known Islamic practice called i'tikuf which means 
retreating to mosques for devotion and worship. The Prophet (peace be on him) used 
to retreat to the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadan. 

2IH). 1 construe these limits as applying to the whole of the regulations about fasts. 

241 Besides the three primal physical needs of man, which are apt la make him 
greedy, there is a fourth greed in society, the greed of wealth and property. The purpose 
of fasts is not completed until i his fourth greed is also restrained. Ordinarily honest men 
are content if they refrain from robbery, theft, or embezzlement. Two more subtle forms 
of the greed arc mentioned here. One is where one uses one’s own property for 
corrupting others-judges or those in authority-so as to obtain some material gain even 
under the cover and protection of the law. The words translated “other people's property * 
may also mean “public property". A still more subtle form is where wc use our own 
property or property under our own control ^‘among yourselves" tn the Text-for vain 
or frivolous uses. Under the Islamic standard this is also greed. Property carries with it 
ils own responsibilities. If we fail to understand or fulfil them, wc have not learnt the 
full lesson of self-denial by fasts. 

S.2 A. 189-191) 

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189. They ask thee 

Concerning the New Moons. :iL 
Say: They are but signs 
To mark fixed periods of time 
In (the affairs of) men. 

And for Pilgrimage, 

It is no virtue if ye enter 
Your houses from the hack: 

It is virtue if ye fear Allah. 

Enter houses 

Through the proper doors 
And fear Allah: 

That ye may prosper, 

I9U. Fight in the cause of Allah 
Those who fight you 2m 
But do not transgress limits; 

For Allah loveth not transgressors. 

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2U2, There were many superstitions connected with the New Moon, as there are to 
the present day. We are told to disregard such superstitions. As a measure of lime, where 
the lunar calendar is used; the New Moon is one great sign, for which people watch with 
eagerness. Muslim festivals, including the Pilgrimage, are fisted by the appearance of the 
New Moon. The Arabs, among other superstitions, had one which made them enter their 
houses by the back door during or after the Pilgrimage. This is disapproved, for there 
is no virtue in any such artificial restrictions. All virtue proceeds from the love and fear 
of Allah, 

203. This is a Muslim proverb now, and much might be written about its manifold 
meanings. A few may be noted here. (1) If you enter a society, respect its manners and 
customs. (2) If you want to achieve an object honourably, go about it openly and not 
“by a backdoor. M (3) Do not heal about the hush. (4) If you wish success in an 
undertaking, provide all the necessary instruments for it. 

The subject of the New Moon provides a good transition between the Ramadhan fast, 
which begins and ends with the New- Moon, the Pilgrimage, whose ten days commence 
with the New Moon, and the War which Islam had to wage in self-defence against the 
Pagans, who wanted to exclude them from the Pilgrimage after they had driven them out 
of house and home- 

204, War is permissible in self-defence, and under well-defined limits. When 
undertaken, it must be pushed with vigour, but not relentlessly, but only to restore peace 
and freedom for the worship of Allah. In any case strict limits must not be iransgressed: 
women, children, old and infirm men should not be molested, nor trees and crops cut 
down, nor peace with hied when the enemy comes to terms. 

- 79 - 

S. 2 A. 191-193 J.2 (jUJl T S^iJl 

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And slay them 
Wherever ye catch them. 
And turn them out 
From where they have 
Turned you out; 

For Persecution 
Ts worse than slaughter; 
But fight them not 205 
At the Sacred Mosque, 
Unless they (first) 

Fight you there; 

But if they fight you. 

Slay them. 

Such is the reward 
Of those who reject faith 

192, But if they cease, 

Allah is Oft-Forgiving, 
Most Merciful. 

193. And fight them on 
Until there is no more 


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205. This passage is illustrated by the events that happened at Hudaibiya in the sixth 
year of the Hijra, though it is not clear that it was revealed on that occasion. The Muslims 
were by this time a strong and influential community, Many of them were exiles from 
Makkah, where the Pagans had established an intolerant autocracy, persecuting Muslims, 
preventing them from visiting their homes, and even keeping them out by force from 
performing the Pilgrimage during the universally recognised period of truce. This was 
intolerance, oppression, and autocracy to the last degree, and the mere readiness of the 
Muslims to enforce their rights as Arab citizens resulted without bloodshed in an 
agreement which the Muslims faithfully observed. 'Hie Pagans, however, had no scruples 
in breaking faith, and it is unnecessary here to go into subsequent events. 

In general, it may be said that Islam is the religion of peace, goodwill, mutual 
understanding, and good faith. But it will not acquiesce in wrong-doing, and its men will 
hold their lives cheap in defence of honour, justice, and the religion which they hold 
sacred. Their ideal is that of heroic virtue combined with unselfish gentleness and 
tenderness, such as is exemplified in the life of the Prophet. They believe in courage, 
obedience, discipline, duty, and a constant striving by all the means in their power, 
physical, moral, intellectual, and spiritual, for the establishment of truth and 

206. Suppress faith: in the narrower as w'cll as the larger sense! If they want forcibly 
to prevent you from exercising your sacred rites, they have declared war on your religion, 
and it would be cowardice to ignore the challenge or to fail in rooting out the tyranny. 




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* 80 - 

S.2 A. 193-195 

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And tho religion becomes Allah’s. 207 
But if they cease, 2ns 
Let there he no hostility 
Except to those 
Who practise oppression, 

1 194, The prohibited month ;m 

For the prohibited monih,- 
And so for nil tilings prohibited - 
There is the Uiw of equality. 

If then any one transgresses 
The prohibition against you. 
Transgress ye likewise 
Against him. 

But fear Allah, and know 2111 
That Allah is with those 
Who restrain themselves. 

195. And spend of your substance 
In the cause of Allah, 

And make not your own hands 

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207. The Arabic word is fhVr. which is comprehensive. It implies (he ideas of 
indebtedness, duty, obedience, judgment, justice, faith, religion, customary rites, etc. The 
clause means: “until there is for Allah.” 

20H. If the opposite party cease to persecute you, your hostility ends with them as 
a party, but it does not mean that you become friends to oppression. Your fight is against 
wrong: there should he no rancour against men, 

209. Hardm = prohibited, sacred. The month of Pilgrimage (Zul-hijja) w r as a sacred 
month, in which warfare, was prohibited by Arab custom. The month preceding (Zut- 
qa'da) and the month following (Aluharram) w-erc included in the prohibition, and 
Muharram was specially called at~Hardm. In Kajab, also, war was prohibited. If ihe pagan 
enemies of Islam broke that custom and made war in the prohibited months, the Muslims 
were free also to break that custom but only to the same extent as the others broke it. 
Similarly the territory of Makkah was sacred, in which war was prohibited. If the enemies 
of Islam broke that custom, the Muslims were free to do so to that extent. Any 
convention is useless if one party does not respect it. There must be a law of equality. 
Or perhaps the word reciprocity may express it better. 

210, At the same time the Muslims arc commanded to exercise self-restraint as much 
as possible. Force is a dangerous weapon. It may have to be used for self-defence or 
self-preservation, but we must always remember that self-restraint is pleasing in the eyes 
of Allah. Even when we are fighting, it should be for a principle, not out of passion 

- 81 - 

S.2 A. 195-196 

J. 2 

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Contribute to (your) destruction; 211 
But do good; 

For Allah lovetb those 
Who do good. 



And complete 
The Hajj or ' urnra £ 

In the service of Allah, 

But if ye arc prevented 

(From completing it). 

Send an offering 
For sacrifice. 

Such as ye may find. 

And do not shave your heads 
Until the offering reaches 
The place of sacrifice. 

And if any of you is ill, 213 

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211, Every fight requires the wherewithals for the fight, the "sinews of war." If the 
war is just and in the cause of Allah, all who have wealth must spend it freely. That 
may be their contribution to the Cause, in addition to their personal effort, or if for any 
reason they are unable to fight. If they hug their wealth, perhaps their own hands are 
helping in their own self-destruction. Or if their wealth is being spent, not in the Cause 
of Allah, but in something which pleases their fancy, ii may be that the advantage goes 
to the enemy, and they are by their action helping their own destruction. In all things, 
their standard should he, not selfishness, but the good of their brethren, for such good 
is pleasing to Allah. 

212, Sec, ii. 158, n. 161. The Hajj is the complete pilgrimage, of which the chief 
rites are performed during the first twelve or thirteen days of the month of ZuUhtjjti* The 
1 Urnra is a less formal pilgrimage at any time of the year. In either ease, the intending 
pilgrim commences by putting on a simple garment of unsewn doth in two pieces when 
he is some distance yet from Makkah. The putting on of the pilgrim garb (Hiram) is 
symbolical of his renouncing the vanities of the world. After this and until the end of 
the pilgrimage he must not wear other clothes, or ornaments, anoint his hair, use 
perfumes, hunt, or do other prohibited acts. The completion of the pilgrimage is 
symbolised by (lie shaving of the head for men and the cutting off of a few locks of the 
hair of the head for women, the putting off of the thrum and the resumption of the 
ordinary dress. 

Here we are told: (1) that having once undertaken the pilgrimage, we must complete 
it; (2) that we must do it not for worldly ends, but as a symbol of our service and worship 
to Allah; (3) that if we are prevented, for any reason, from completing the rites, a 
sacrifice should be offered where the prevention took place, 

213, If any one is taken ill after putting on the ihram, so that he has to put on other 
clothes, or if he has trouble or skin disease in his head or insects in his hair, and he 
has to shave his head before completion, he should fast (three days, say the 
Commentators), or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice. 

JyT- * y * I- y *■ 4J y I# Jy «■ JyV fyi iiyV *V’“ * V ■ * y V # y V tf y * Jy T J yX Jyl 

- 82 - 

S.2 A. 196 

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sAr tAx 

Or has an ailment in his scalp 
(Necessitating shaving). 

(He should) in compensation 
Either fast, or feed the poor. 
Or offer sacrifice; 

And when ye are 
In peaceful conditions (again )r 
if any one wishes 
To continue the * unira 
On to the hajj, 

He must make an offering 
Such as he can afford. 

But if he cannot afford it. 

He should fast 
Three days during the hajj. 
And seven days on his return. 
Making ten days in all. 

This is for those 
Whose household 
Is not in (the precincts 215 
Of) the Sacred Mosque. 

And fear Allah. 

And know that Allah, 

Is strict in punishment. 21 * 

214. When this was revealed, lire city of Makkah was in lire hands of ihe enemies 
of [slam, and the regulations about the fighting and the pilgrimage came together and 
were interconnected. Hut the revelation provides, as always, for the particular occasion, 
and also for normal conditions. Makkah soon passed out of the hands of the enemies 
of Islam. People sometimes came long distances to Makkah before the Pilgrimage season 
began. Having performed the ‘Vmra, they stayed on for the formal Hajj. In case the 
pilgrim had spent Iris money, he is shown what he can do, rich or poor, and yet hold 
his head high among his fellows, as having performed all rites as prescribed. 

215. For residents in Makkah, the question does not arise. They are there every day. 
and there is no question of 'Umra for them, 

216. This doses the section about the duties of fighting and introduces the connected 
question of pilgrimage in a sort of transition. Fighting is connected with fear, and while 
it is meritorious to obey Allah, we arc warned that we must not allow our selhsh passions 
to carry us away, because it is in such times of stress that our spirit is tested. Verse 195 
ended with a benediction for those who do good. This verse ends with u warning to those 
who take advantage of Allah's cause to transgress the limits, for the punishment is equally 
sure. The next verse shows us the pitfalls wc must avoid in a large concourse of people. 

i*— — - — 

* 83 - 

S,2 A . 197 

For Hojj 

Arc Ihe months well known.' 1 
IT any one undertakes 
That duty therein. 

Let there be no obscenity. 

Nor wickedness. 

Nor wrangling 
In the Hojj. 

And whatever good 
Ve do, (be sure) 

Allah knoweth it. 

And take a provision :,K 
( With you) for the journey. 
Hut ihc best of provisions 

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217. Tii? months writ known: the months of Shawwat, Zut-qa'da, amt Zul-hijja (up 
to the Kith or the 13th) are set apart for ihc riles of Hajj, That is to say, the first riles 
may begin as early as the beginning of Shnwwal, with a definite approach fo Makkah 
hut (he chief riles are concentrated on die first ten days of Zuldtijja, aiul specially on 
the Htb. hih amt I nth of that month, when die concourse of pilgrims reaches its height. 
The chief rites may lie briefly enumerated: (I) The wearing of the pilgrim garment 
(ihrdmi from certain points definitely fixed on ail the roads to Makkah after this Ihe 
pilgrimage prohibitions come into operation and the pilgrim is dedicated to worship and 
prayer and the denial of vanities; (2) the going round the Kalia seven limes jtawdf), 
typifying activity, with the kissing of die little Black Stone huill into the wall, the symbol 
of concentration in the love of Allah; (3) after a short prayer at die Station of Abraham 
(O. ii 125). the pilgrim goes to the folk Safa and Marwu (O. ii. 15k), the symbols of 
patience and perseverance; (4) the great Sermon (Khutbal on the 7th of Z.ul-hijja* when 
the whole assembly listens to an exposition of the meaning of Hajj; (5) the visit on the 
eighth, of the whole body of pilgrims to the Valley of Mina (about six miles north of 
Makkah. where the pilgrims halt and slay the night, proceeding on ihc ninth to the plain 
and hill of 'Arafat, about five miles further north, which is also called the Mount of 
Mercy; (5) the tenth day, the 'Id Day, die day of Sacrifice, when the sacrifice is offered 
in the Valley of Mina, the head is shaved or the hair trimmed, the tawiif ablfada and 
the symbolic ceremony of casting seven pebbles at the Jain a rut is performed on the first 
occasion: it is continued on subsequent days, both rites are connected with the story of 
Abraham: this is the *ld«ul*Adhha: note that the ceremony is connected with the rejection 
of evil in thought, word, and deed, A stay of two or three days after this is prescribed; 
these three days arc called Tashriq days, 

2 1 H . h is recommended that pilgrims should come with provisions, so that they 
should not be compelled to resort to begging. But, as usual, our thought is directed at 
once from the physical to the spiritual. If provisions are required for a journey on earth, 
how much more important to provide for the final journey into the future world? The 
best of such provisions is right conduct, which is the same as the fear of Allah. 

- 84 - 


S,2 A. 197-200 

Is right conduct. 

So fear Me, 

O ye that are wise. 

198. It is no crime in you 
If ye seek of the bounty 
Of your Lord (during pilgrimage). 21 '* 
Then when ye pour down 
From (Mount) ‘Arafat, 

Celebrate the praises of Allah 
At the Sacred Monument, 22,1 
And celebrate His praises 
As He has directed you. 

Even though, before this, 

Ye went astray. 221 

199. Then return from the place 
Whence it is usual 
For the multitude 222 
So to do, and ask 
For Allah's forgiveness. 

For Allah is Oft-forgiving, 

Most Merciful, 

200. So when ye have 
Accomplished your rites. 

Celebrate the praises of Allah, 

219. Legitimate trade is allowed, in the interests both tif the honest trader, who can 
thus meet his own expenses, and of the generality of pilgrims, who would otherwise he 
greatly inconvenienced for the necessaries of life. But the profit must be sought as from 
the “bounty of Allah," There should be no profiteering, or trade “tricks." Good honest 
trade is a form of service to the community, and therefore to Allah. 

220. About midway between ‘Arafai and Mina (see n. 217 to ii. 197) is a place called 
Muzdalifa where the Holy Prophet offered up a long prayer. 1 1 has thus become a Sacred 
Monument and pilgrims arc directed to follow that example on their return. A special 
reason for this is given in the note following. 

22 L Certain arrogant tribes living in Makkah used not to go to 'Arafat with the 
crowd but to stop short at Muzdalifa. They are rebuked for their arrogance and told that 
they must perform all the rites tike the rest of the pilgrims. There is equality in Islam. 

222. See Ihe last note. Towards the end of the Pilgrimage the crowd is very great, 
and if any people loitered after ‘Arafat, it would cause great confusion and inconvenience. 
The pace has therefore to be quick for every one, a very salutary regulation. Every 
member of the crowd must think of the comfort and convenience of the whole mass. 

- 85 - 

S*2 A. 200-203 

As ye used to celebrate 
The praises of your fathers,- 3 *'' 
Yea, with far more 
Heart and soul. 

There are men who say; 

“Our Lord! Give us 
(Thy bounties) in this world!” 
But they will have 
No portion in the Hereafter. 2 ' 4 

201. And there are men who say: 
“Our Lord! Give us 
Good in this world 
And good in the Hereafter, 
And save us 
[‘Tom the torment 
Of the Fire!” 

202. To these will be allotted 125 
What they have earned: 

And Allah is quick in account. 

)3. Remember Allah 

During the Appointed Days; 2 * 
But if any one hastens 
To leave in two days* 

There is no blame on him T 

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223. After the Pilgrimage, in Pagan times, the pilgrims used to gather in assemblies 
in which the praises of ancestors were sung. As the whole of the pilgrimage rites were 
purified in Islam, so this aftermath of the Pilgrimage was also purified It was required 
from pilgrims to stay on two or three days after the Day of Sacrifice, hut they must use 
them in prayer and praise to Allah, See ii. 203 below, 

224. tf you hasten to get all the good things of the world, and only think of them 
and pray for them* you would lose the higher things of the future. The proper Muslim 
attitude is neither to renounce this world nor to he so engrossed in ii as to forget die 
future life, 

225. Our spiritual account is mounting up, both on the debit and credit side. In 
worldly accounts, both our profits and our losses may be delayed. Hut in Allah's books 
there is no delay. Our actions go before us, (See ii. 95, n*) 

226. The Appointed Days; the three days after the tenth, when the Pilgrims stay on 
in the Valley of Mina for prayer and praise. They are the days of Tashriq (see ii. 200, 
n. 223), It is optional for pilgrims to leave on the second or third day. 


- 86 - 

S. 2 A. 203-207 

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Ami if any one slays on. 

There is no blame on him. 

If his aim is to do right. 

Then fear Allah, and know 
That ye will surely 
Be gathered unto Him. 

There is the type of man 227 
Whose speech 
About this world's life 
May dazzle thee. 

And he calls Allah to witness 
About what is in his heart; 

Yel is he the most contentious 
Of enemies. 

When he turns his hack. 

II is aim everywhere 

Is to spread mischief 

Through the earth and destroy 

Crops and progeny 

But Allah loveth riot mischief. 

When it is said to him. 

“Fear Allah/' 

He is led by arrogance 
To (more) crime. 

Enough for him is Hell;- 
An evil bed indeed 
(To lie on)! 2 * 

And there is the type of man 
Who gives his life 

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227. The two contrasted types of men mentioned in ii. 21KJ and 21) l are here further 
particularised: the glih hypocrite who appears worldly-wise but plans harm, contrasted 
with the sincere believer who is prepared to suffer martyrdom for his faith. The 
Commentators give names of people who exemplified these types. The mischief-maker has 
a smooth tongue and indulges in plausible talk with many oaths. He appears to be 
worldly-wise, and though you may despise him for his worldliness, you may not realise 
his frauds. Behind your hack he is an implacable enemy. He stirs up quarrels, and causes 
all sorts of mischief lo you or your friends. He can never win Allah's love, and we are 
warned against his (ricks, 

228. According to the English saying. “As you have made your bed. so you must 
lie in it." 

— — — — 

- 87 - 

S.2 A. 207-210 

J. 2 jli)l 

Y o 

To earn the pleasure of Allah; 
And Allah is full of kindness 
To (His) devotees, 

208, 0 ye who believe! 

Enter into Islam 

And follow not 
The footsteps 

Of the Satan 
For he is to you 
An avowed enemy. 

209, If ye backslide 

After the dear (Signs) 

Have come to you, 

Then know that Allah 
is Exalted in Power, Wise 


2111. Will they wail 

Until Allah comes to them 
In canopies of clouds. 

With angels (in His train) 
And the question 
Is (thus) settled? 

But to Allah 
Do all questions 
Go hack (for decision). 

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229, This second type of man, -firm, sincere, devoted, willing to give his life for the 
faith that is in him- was common in early Islam. Such men were its pillars. Through 
persecution, obloquy, torture, threat to their own lives or the lives of those dear to them, 
they stood by their leader and many of them gave their lives, Thai is what established 
Islam, We arc asked in the next verse to follow this type and shun the other or evil type. 
If we do that, our Cause is safe, 

23U, If you backslide after the conviction has been brought home to you, you may 
cause some inconvenience to the Cause, or to those who counted upon you, but do not 
be so arrogant as to suppose that you will defeat Allah's Power and Wisdom, The loss 
will be your own. 

231, If faith is wanting, all sorts of excuses are made to resist the appeal of Allah. 
They might and do say: “Oh yes! we shall believe if Allah appears to us with His angels 
in His glory!" In other words they want to settle the question in their way, and not in 
Allah's way. That will not do. The decision in all questions belongs to Allah, If we are 
true to Him, we wait for His limes and seasons, and do not expect Him to wait on ours. 

■T. 1 

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- 88 - 

S.2A.21 1-213 

Y SyJl S Jr - 

211. Ask ihe Children of Israel 1 ' 13 
How many Clear (Signs) 

We have sent them. 

Hut if any one. 

After Allah's favour 
lias come to him. 

Substitutes (something else). 

Allah is strict in punishment. 2V1 

212. The life of this world 
Is alluring to those 
Who reject faith. 

And they scoff at those 
Who believe. 

But the righteous 

Will be above them 

On the Day of Resurrection; 

For Allah bestows His abundance 
Without measure 
On whom He will* 234 

213. Mankind was one single nation. 
And Allah sent Messengers 
With glad tidings and warnings; 
And with them He sent 
The Book in truth. 

To judge between people 
In matters wherein 
They differed; 

But the People of the Book, 


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232. The Israel ies under Moses were shown Allah's glory and many dear Signs and 
yet they went after their own ways, and preferred their own whims and fancies. So do 
people in all ages, But let them not deeieve themselves. Allah's justice is sure, and when 
it comes, it will be strict and unmistakable to those who reject I (is grace. 

233. Cf. ii. I9& (end) where the question was of those who do not fear Allah. Here 
the question is of those who reject Allah's Signs. 

234. Allah’s gifts in this world seem unequal, and sometimes those get them who 
seem to deserve them least. Allah's bounty is unlimited to the just as well as the unjust. 
In His wisdom He may give to whomsoever He pleases. The account is not taken now. 
but will be taken in the end, when the balance will be redressed. 

- 89 - 

S,2A.2I3 215 




T lj2 Jl * jj-* 

After the clear Signs 
Came to them, did mu differ 
Among themselves* 

Except through selfish contumacy; 
Allah by His Grace 
Guided the Believers 
To the Truth, 

Concerning that 
Wherein they differed. 

For Allah guides 
Whom He will 
To a path 
Thai is straight. 

Or do ye think 
That ye shall enter 
The Garden (of Bliss) 

Without such (trials) 

As came to those 
Who passed away 
Before you? 

They encountered 
Suffering and adversity* 

And were so shaken in spirit 
That even the Messenger 
And those of faith 
Who were with Him 
Cried: “When (will come) 

The help of Allah' ' 

Ah! Verily, the help of Allah 
Is (always) near! 

They ask thee 

What they should spend 

(In charity). Say: Whatever wealth 

Ye spend that is good," 1 * 


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235. Three questions arise in chanty: (I) What shall we give? (2) to whom shall we 
give * and (3) how shall we give? The answer is here. Give anything that is good, useful, 
helpful, valuable, h may he property or money; ii may he a helping hand: it may he 
advice; it may be a kind word; “whatever ye do that is good" is charity. On ihc othe 
hand, if you throw away what is useless, there is no charity in it. Or if you give something 

- 90 - 

S.2 A. 2 15-2 17 

A r^-^ i i* 1 -' 

Is for parents and kindred 
And orphans 
And those in want 
And for wayfarers. 

And whatever ye do 
That is good,- A Mali 
Knoweih it well. 

2K>. Fighting is prescribed 

Upon you, and yc dislike hr 31 ' 
But it is possible 
That yc dislike a thing 
Which is good for you, 

Arid that ye love a thing 
Which is bad for you. 

But Allah knoweih. 

And yc know not, 


217. They ask thee 

Concerning fighting 
In the Prohibited Month.* 37 
Say: "Fighting therein 
Is a grave (offence); 

But graver is it 
fn the sight of Allah 

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with a harmful intent. r.g., a sword to a mailman, or a drug or sweets or even money 
to some one whom you want to entrap or corrupt, it is no charity bui a gift of damnation 
To whom should you give? U may he tempting to earn the world's praise by a gift that 
will he talked about, hut are you meeting the needs of those who have the first claim 
on you? If you are not, you are like a person who defrauds creditors: it is no charity, 
Every gift is judged by its unselfish character: the degree of need or claim is a factor 
which you should consider: if you disregard it. there is something selfish behind it. How 
should it be given? As in the sight of Allah: this shuts out all pretence, show, and 

23ft. To fight in the cause of Truth is one of the highest forms of charity What can 
you offer that is more precious than your own life? But here again the limitations come 
in. If you are a mere brawler, or a selfish aggressive person, or a vainglorious bully, you 
deserve the highest censure. Allah knows the value of things better than you do. 

237, i'rnhihitt'tl Month: See ii. 194. n. 21 W, 


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- 91 - 

S.2 A. 217-218 

jlill .ji-l 


To prevent access 
To the path or Allah 
To deny Him. 

To prevent access 
To the Sacred Mosque, 

And drive out its members." 2 ' 1 * 
Tumult and oppress ion 2311 
Arc worse than slaughter. 

Nor will they cease 
Fighting you until 
They turn you back 
From your faith 
If they can. 

And if any of you 
Turn back from their faith 
And die in unbelief, 

Their works will bear no fruit 
In this life 

And in the Hereafter; 

They will be 
Companions of the Fire 
And will abide therein. 

2KS. Those who believed 

And those who suffered exile 
And fought (and strove anti 

sir uggled) 

In the path of Allah*— 

They have the hope 

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23K. The intolerance and persecution ol the Pagan clique at Makkali caused untold 
hardships to the holy Messenger of Islam and his early disciples. They bore all with 
meekness and long-suffering patience until Allah permitted them to rake tip arms in self- 
defence Then they were twitted with breach of the custom about Prohibited Month, 
though they were driven it) fight during that period against their own feeling in self 
defence, but their enemies not only forced them to engage in actual warfare, but 
interfered with tit ei r conscience, persecuted them and their families, openly insulted and 
denied Allah, kept oul I he Muslim Arabs from the Sacred Mosque, and exiled them. Such 
violence and intolerance are deservedly called worse than slaughter. 

239, Cf. iL 191. 193. where a similar phrase occurs. Fima = trial, temptation, as in 
ii 1112; or tumult, sedition, oppression, as here; M.M.A., and M.P. translate 

“p^rsecuiioTi" in this passage, which is also legitimate, seeing that persecution is the 
suppression of some opinion by violence, force, or threats. 

- 92 - 

T2 A. 218-220 

T l Jr * 

Of the Mercy of Allah: 
And Allah is Oft-forgiving 
Most Merciful. 

219, They ask thee 
Concerning wine 1:411 a ml gambling 
Say: Mn them is great sin. 

And some profit, fur men: 

But the sin is greater 
Than the profit/* 

They ask thee how much 
They are to spend; 

Say: “What is beyond 343 
Your needs." 

Thus doth Allah 
Make clear to you 
Mis signs: in order that 
Yc may considcr- 

220, (Their hearings) on 

'I'll is life and the I lure after. 
Thev ask thee 

24 ! 

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240. Wine: Khamr literally understood to mean the fermented juice of the grape; 
applied by analogy to all fermented liquor, and by further analogy to any intoxicating liquor or drug 
There may possibly he some benefit in it. hut the harm is greater than the benefit, 
especially if we took at it from a social as well as an individual point of view. 

241. Gambling; mahir: literally a means of getting, something too easily, getting a 
profit without working for it: hence gambling. The form most familiar to the Arabs was 
gambling by casting lots by means of arrows, on the principle of a lottery: the arrows 
were marked and served the same purpose as a modem lottery ticket. Something, e.g., 
the carcass of a slaughtered animal, was divided into unequal parts. The marked arrows 
were drawn from a bag. Some were blank and those who drew them got nothing. Others 
indicated prizes, which were big or small. Whether you got a big share or u small share, 
or nothing, depended on pure luck. The principle on which the objection is based is: that, 
you gain what you have not earned, or lose on a mere chance. Dice and wagering are 
rightly held to be within the definition of gambling. 

242. Hoarding is no use either lo ourselves, or to any one else. We should use the 
wealth we need; any superfluities we must spend in good works or in charity, 

243. Gambling and intemperance are social as well as individual sins. They may ruin 
us in our ordinary every-day worldly life. In case it is suggested that there is no harm 
in a little indulgence, we are asked lo think over all its aspects, social and individual, 
worldy and spiritually. 


- 93 - 

S.2 A. 220-22 1 

Concerning orphans 
Say: “The best tiling u> do 
Is what is for their good; 

If ye mix 

Their affairs with yours, 

They are your brethren; 

But Allah knows 
The man who means mischief 
From the man who means good 
And if Allah had wished. 

He could have put you 
Into difficulties: He is indeed 
Exalted in Rower, Wise. 


245- A 

22 1, Do not marry 

U n bel i e v i n g 24 v A wo m an 
Until they believe: 

A slave woman who believes 
Is better than an unbelieving 


Even though she allure you. 

Nor marry (your girls) 

To unbelievers until 
They believe: 

A man slave who believes 
Is better than an unbeliever 245 A 

,x \pSg# \j 

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J" l 


244. For Orphans the best rule is to keep their property, household, and accounts 
separate, lest there should be any temptation to get a personal advantage to their guardian 
by mixing them with the guardian's property, household or accounts, -also to keep clear 
of any ideas of marriage, where this fiduciary relation exists. Q. vi. 152 may possibly 
suggest complete separation. Hut it may be an economy and an advantage to the orphan 
to have his property and accounts administered with the guardian’s property and accounts 
and to have him live in the guardian's household, or to marry into the guardian's family, 
especially where the orphan's property is small and he or she has no other friend. The 
lest is: what is host in the orphan's interests? II the guardian does fall into temptation, 
even if human law does not detect him. he is told he is sinning in Allah's sight and that 
should keep him straight. 

245. The idea in Islam is not to make Allah's Law a burdensome feller, but to ease 
a man's path in all kinds of difficult situations by putting him on his honour and trusting 
him. The strictest probity is demanded of him, hut if he tails short of ii, he is told that 
he cannot escape Allah's punishment even though he may evade human punishment. 

245-A. Literally “pagan' 

a v -'„ jyC Syt irtfi /yt JVw’v*' 

- 94 - 

S.2 A.221-222 J. 2 jllJl .jJLl 

»Af iAfiAl 1 lA/ %4p i*f |A| |Af %Aj* lAf |Af *t A * ■ 

■ ■ ; ■ ■■■■ 


Even though lie allure you.* 4 * 
Unbelievers do (but) 

Beckon you to the Fire, 

But Allah beckons by I Us Grace 
To the Garden (of Bliss) 

And forgiveness. 

And makes His Signs 
Clear to mankind: 

That they may 
Receive admonition. 


They ask thee 

Concerning women’s courses. 

Say: They are 
A hurt and a pollution:* 4 
So keep away from women 
In their courses, and do not 
Approach them until 
They are dean. 

But when they have 
P u ri f ic d the m sc 1 v es , 

Ye may approach them 

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246. Marriage is a most intimate communion, and the mystery of sex finds its highest 
fulfilment when intimate spiritual harmony is combined with the physical link As religion 
is a real influence in life to both parties or to either party, a difference in this vital matter 
must affect the lives of both more profoundly than differences of birth, race, language, 
or position in life It is therefore only right that the parlies to be married should have 
the same spiritual outlook. If two persons love each other, their outlook in the highest 
things of life must be the same. Note that religion is not here a mere label or a matter 
of custom or birth. The two persons may have been horn in different religions, hut if, 
by their mutual influence, they come to see the truth in the same way, they must openly 
accept the same ntes and the same social brotherhood. Otherwise the position will become 
impossible individually and socially 

247, Azan: hurt, pollution, Doth aspects must be remembered. Physical cleanliness 
and purity make for health, bodily and spiritual I bn the matter should be looked at from 
the woman's point of view' as well as the man's. To her there is danger of hurt* and 
she should have every consideration In the animal world, instinct is a guide which is 
obeyed. Man should in this respect be better: he is often worse. 

- 95 - 

S. 2 A, 222-224 

Your wives arc 
As a ti)th :4M unto you 
So approach your tilth 
When or haw ye wilt: 

But do some pood act 
For your souls beforehand; 

And fear Allah, 

And know that ye are 
To meet Him (in the Hereafter) 
And give (these) good tidings 25 " 
To those who believe. 

224, And make not 

Allah's (name) art excuse 

248, Mmthii: A comprehensive word referring to manner, time, or place, The most 
delicate mutters are here referred to in the most discreet and yet helpful terms. In sex 
morality, manner, time, and place are all important: and the highest standards are set 
by social laws, hy our own refined instinct of mutual eon side ration* and above all, by 
the light shed by the highest Teachers from the wisdom which they receive from our 
Maker. Who loves purity and cleanliness in alt things. 

24V Sex is not a thing to he ashamed of. or to be treated lightly, or to be indulged 
to excess. It is as solemn a fact as any in life It is compared to a husbandman's tilth: 
it is a serious affair to him: he sows the seed in order to reap the harvest. But he chooses 
his own time and mode of cultivation, lie does not sow out of season nor cultivate in 
a manner which will injure or exhaust the soil. He is wise and considerate and does not 
run riot. Coming from the simile to human beings, even kmd of mutual consideration 
is required, but above all, we must remember that even in these matters there is a 
spiritual aspect. Wc must never forget our souls, and that we tire responsible to Allah, 

It was carnal-minded men who invented the doctrine of original sin: “Behold says 
the Psalmist. "I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalms 
li. 5). This is entirely repudiated by Islam, in which the office of father and mother is 
held in the highest veneration. I very child is horn pure. Celibacy is not necessarily a 
virtue, and may be a vice, 

2511. Our highest spiritual ambition should be the hope of meeting Allah. To uphold 
such a hope is to give glad tidings to people of faith, It would only be unrepentant sinners 
who would fear the meeting. Note how the most sensuous matters are discussed frankly, 
and immediately taken up into the loftiest regions of spiritual upliftttient. 

- 96 * 

S.2 A. 224- 227 

In your oaths against 
Doing good, or acting rightly. 
Or making peace 
Between persons; 

For Allah is One 

Who heart tli and kiiowetlr 51 

All things. 

225. Allah will not 

Call you to account 
For thoughtlessness 
In your oaths. 

But for the intention 
In your hearts, 252 
And He is 
Most Forbearing. 

226. For those who take 
An oath for abstention 
From their wives, 

A waiting for four months 
Is ordained; 

If then they return, 

Allah is Oft -forgiving. 

Most Merciful 

227. But if their intention 
Is firm for divorce, 
Allah heard h 

251. Thu Arabs had many special kinds of oaths, for each or which they had a special 
mi mu in their language. Some of them related to sex matters, and caused 
misunderstanding, alienation, division, or separation between luisband and wife. This and 
the following three verses refer to them. In ii. 224 we are first of all told in perfectly 
general terms that we are not to make an oath in the name of Allah an excuse for not 
doing the right thing when it is pointed out to us. or for refraining from doing something 
whieh will bring people together. If we were swayed by anger or passion or mere caprice. 
Allah knows our inmost hearts, and right conduct, and not obstinacy or quibbling is what 
He demands from us. 

252. Ii has been held that thoughtless oaths, if there is no intention behind them, 
can be expiated by an act of charity. 

-97 - 

S.2 A .227-228 

,U1 *>Ll 

228- Divorced women 

Shall wait concerning themselves 
For three monthly periods. 

And it is not lawful for them 
lb hide what Allah 
1 lath created in their wombs. 

If they have faith 
In Allah and the Last Day. 

And their husbands 
Have the better right 
To take them back 
In that period, if 
They wish for reconciliation."^ 
And women shall have ri gilts 
Similar to the rights 
Against them, according 
To what is equitable; 

But men have a degree 

U j j 1_jL wil] \i j 


253. Verses 225-27 should be read together with verse 224. The latter, though it is 
perfectly general, leads up to the other three. 

Hie Pagan Arabs had a custom very unfair to women in wedlock, and this was 
suppressed by Islam. Sometimes, in a fit of anger or caprice, a husband would take an 
oath by Allah not to approach his wife. This deprived her of conjugal rights, but at the 
same time kept her tied to him indefinitely, so that she could not marry again. If the 
husband was remonstrated with* he would say that his oath by Allah bound him. Islam 
in the first place disapproved of the thoughtless oaths, hut insisted on proper solemn 
intentional oaths being scrupulously observed. In a serious matter like that affecting a 
wife, if the oath was put forward as an excuse, the man is told that it is no excuse at 
all. Allah looks to intention* not mere thoughtless words. The parties are allowed a period 
of four months to make up their minds and see if an adjustment is possible. Reconciliation 
is recommended, but if they are really determined against reconciliation, it is unfair to 
keep them lied indefinitely. 

254. Islam tries to maintain the married state as far as possible, especially where 
children are concerned, but it is against the restriction of the liberty of men and women 
in such vitally important matters as love and family life. It will check hasty action as far 
as possible, and leave the door to reconciliation open at many stages. Hven after divorce 
a suggestion of reconciliation is made, subject to certain precautions (mentioned in the 
following verses) against thoughtless action, A period of waiting ('iddat) for three monthly 
courses is prescribed, in order to see if the marriage conditionally dissolved is likely to 
result in issue. But this is not necessary where the divorced woman is a virgin: Q. xxxiii. 
49. It is definitely declared that women and men shall have similar rights against each 

lyl jyTj. f ' ,< to r'uV JtfV Jy - J"y- f fr*- i AA AA “ V ‘ “lA' «V * *"v “ *V" '‘V* 'V ^ 

- 98 - 

: A . 228-229 


Over them 255 

And Allah is Exalted in Power, 



229. A divorce is only 256 

Permissible twice; after that. 

"Hie parties should either hold 
Together on equitable terms, 

Or separate with kindness. 

It is not lawful for you, 

(Men), to lake back 

Any of your gif Is (from your wives). 

Except when both parties 

Fear that they would be 

Unable to keep the limits 

Ordained by Allah 25,4 

If ye (judges) do indeed 

-oj! jjJo- \ li 

255. The difference in economic position between the sexes makes the man's rights 
and liabilities a little greater than the woman's. U iv. 31 refers to the duly of l he man 
to maintain the woman, and to a certain difference in nature between die sexes Subject 
to this, the sexes are on terms of equality in law. and in certain matters the weaker sex 
is entitled to special protection. 

256. Where divorce for mutual incompatibility is allowed, there is danger that the 
parties might aet I tastily, then repent, and again wish to separate. To prevent such 
capricious action repeatedly, a limit is prescribed. Two divorces (with a reconciliation 
between) are allowed. After that the parties must definitely make up their minds, either 
to dissolve their union permanently, or to live honourable lives together in mutual love 
and forbearance -to " hold together on equitable terms." neither party worrying the other 
nor grumbling nor evading the duties and responsibilities of marriage. 

257. If a separation is inevitable, the parties should not throw mud at each other, 
but recognise what is right and honourable on a consideration of all the circumstances. 
In any case a man is not allowed to ask back for any gills or property he may have 
given to the w r ife. This is for I he protection of the economically weaker sex. Lest that 
protective provision itself work against the woman's freedom, an exception is made in the 
next clause. 

258. All other prohibitions and limits prescribed here are in the interests of good and 
honourable lives for both sides, and m the interests of a clean and honourable social life, 
without public or private scandals. If there is any fear that in safeguarding her economic 
rights, her very freedom of person may suffer, the husband refusing the dissolution of 
marriage, and perhaps treating her with cruelty, then, in such exceptional eases, u is 
permissible to give some material consideration to the husband, but the need and equity 
of this should be submitted to the judgment of impartial judges, m\, properly constituted 
courts. A divorce of this kind is called Khufa\ 

- 99 - 

S.2 A. 229-230 


Fear that they would be 
Unable to keep the limits 
Ordained by Allah, 

There is no blame on either 
Of them if she give 
Something for her freedom 
These are the limits 
Ordained by Allah; 

So do not transgress them 
If any do transgress 
The limits ordained by Allah, 
Such persons wrong 
(Themselves as well as others): ^ 

230. So if a husband 

Divorces his wife (irrevocably) , 2<fl 
He cannot, after that, 

Rc -marry her until 
After she has married 
Another husband and 
1 le has divorced her. 
tn that case there is 
No blame on either of them 
If they re- unite, provided 
They feel that they 
Can keep the limits 
Ordained by Allah, 

Such are the limits 
Ordained by Allah, 

Which He makes plain 
To those who know 

j -kjO if} 

r >\" r 

259. Wrong (themselves as weU as others): Zdltmutt: for the root meaning of zulm 
see n. 5t. ii. 35. 

260. This is in continuation of the first sentence of ii. 229. Two divorces followed 
by rc-union are permissible; the third time the divorce becomes irrevocable, untit the 
woman marries Mime other man and he divorces her, This is to set an almost impossible 
condition. The lesson is: if a man hives a woman lie should run allow -a sudden gust of 
temper or anger to induce him to take hasty action. What happens after two divorces, 
if the man lakes her back? See n, 2b 1 |o ii, 23 1. 


- 100 - 

j. 2 

T iyUt 

1 231. When ye divorce 261 

Women, and they (are about to) 
'Hie term of their (*iddat) t 
Either take them back 
On equitable terms 
Or set them free 
On equitable terms; 

But do not take them back 
To injure them, (or) to take 
Undue advantage; 262 
If any one does that. 

He wrongs his own soul. 

Do not treat Allah's Signs 
As a jest, 263 
But solemnly rehearse 264 
Allah's favours on you. 

And the fact that I le 
Sent down to you 
The Hook 
And Wisdom, 

Tor your instruction. 

Ami fear Allah, 


i£i ilJWiS 

4il\ ^]ojC 1 \j 

261. If the man takes back his wife after two divorces, he must do so only on 
equitable terms, r.e., he must not put pressure on the woman to prejudice her rights in 
any way, and they must live clean and honourable lives, respecting each other's 
personalities. There are here two conditional clauses: (1) when ye divorce women, and 
(2) when they fulfil their 'Ml: followed by two consequential clauses, (3) take them 
back on equitable terms, or (4) set them free with kindness. The first is connected with 
the third and the second with the fourth- Therefore if the husband wishes to resume the 
marital relations, he need not wait for ‘Iddat. Hut if he does not so wish* she is free 
to marry some one else after 7 ddaL For the meaning of 7 ddat see n, 254 above. 

262. Let no one think that the liberty given to him can he used for his own selfish 
ends, 1 1 he uses the law for the injury of the weaker party, lus own moral and spiritual 
nature suffers. 

263. These difficult questions of sex relations are often treated as a joke. But they 
profoundly affect our individual lives* the lives of our children, and the purity and- well- 
being of the society in which we live This aspect of the question is reiterated again and 

2f>4. Rehearse: zikr. I f, ti, 151 and n. 156. We are asked to remember in our own 
minds* and to proclaim and praise, and be proud of Allah's favours on ns. His favours 
are immeasurable: not the least are Ifis Revelations, and the wisdom which He has given 
to us to enable ns to judge and act up to llis guidance. 

- 101 - 

S.2 A .23 1-233 

J. 2 jliJUjJU 

232. When ye divorce 
Women, and they fulfil 
The term of their flddat). 

Do not present theni"'^ 

From marrying 

Their (former) husbands. 

If they mutually agree 
On equitable terms. 

This instruction 

is for alt amongst you. 

Who believe in Allah 
And the Last Day. 

Thai is (the course 
Making For) most virtue 
And purity amongst you. 

And Allah knows. 

And ye know not. 

233. The mothers shall give suck** 
To their offspring 


o&cj* *■ jj| 


265. The termination of a marriage horn! is a most serious matter for family and 
social life. And every lawful device is approved which can equitably bring hack those who 
have lived together, provided only there is mu tual love and they can live on honourable 
terms with each other. If these conditions are fulfilled, it is not right for outsiders io 
prevent or hinder re- union. They may be swayed by property or other considerations. This 
verse was occasioned by an actual ease that was referred to the holy Prophet in hi* life- 

266. Av this comes tn the midst of the regulations on divorce, it applies primarily 
to cases of divorce, where some definite rule is necessary, as the father and mother would 
not, on account of the divorce, probably be on good terms, .mil the interests of the 
children mu si be safeguarded. As, however, the wording is perfectly general, it has been 
held that the principle applies equally to the father and mother in wedlock: each must 
fulfil bis or her part in the fostering of the child. On the other hand, it is provided that 
the child shall not be used as an excuse for driving a hard bargain on either side. By 
mutual consent they can agree to some course that is reasonable and equitable, both as 
regards the period before weanmg (the maximum being two years) and the engagement 
of a wet-nurse* or (by analogy) for artificial feeding. But the mother's privileges must — 

- 102 - 

S.2 A, 233-234 

For two whole years, 

For him who desires 
To complete the term. 

Hut he shall bear the cost 
Of their food and cUnhing 2fifriA 
On equitable terms. 

No soul shall have 
A burden laid on ii 
Greater than it can bear. 

No mother shall be 
Treated unfairly 
On account of her child. 

Nor father 

On account of his child, 

An heir shall he chargeable 
In the same way. 

If they both decide 
On weaning, 

By mutual consent, 

And after due consultation. 

There is no blame on them. 

If ye decide 
On a foster-mother 
For your offspring 
There is no blame tin you. 
Provided ye pay (the foster mother) 
What ye offered. 

On equitable terms. 

But fear Allah and know 
That Allah sees well 
What ye do. 

234. If any of you die 

And leave widows behind; 

They shall wail concerning 


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he curtailed simply because by mutual consent she docs not nurse the baby. In a 
matter of this kmni the ultimate appeal must be to godliness, tor atl legal remedies are 
imperfect and may be misused. 

266- A. i.c. in case of divorce. 

- 103 - 

S,2 A, 234*235 


Four months and ten days’ 167 
When they have fulfilled 
Their term, there is no blame 
On you if they dispose 
Of themselves in a just 
And reasonable manner. 

And Allah is well acquainted 
With what ye do. 

235, There is no blame 
On you if ye make 
An indirect offer of betrothal 
Or hold it in your hearts. 368 
Allah knows that ye 
Cherish them in your hearts: 

But do not make a secret contract 
With them except 
That you speak to them 
hi terms honourable , nor resolve 
on the lie 

Of marriage till the term 
Prescribed is fulfilled. 

And know that Allah 
Knowetli what is in your hearts. 
And take heed of Him; 

And know that Allah is 
Oft-forgiving. Most Forbearing, 

tip jj l 

267. The *lddat Of widowhood ( four months and ten days) is longer than ihe 7 tidal 
of divorce (three monthly courses, ii. 22K). hi the kilter the only consideration is to 
ascertain if there is any unborn issue of The marriage dissolved, t his is clear from xxxiii. 
49. where it is laid down that there is no *fddat for virgin divorcees. In the former there 
is in addition the consideration of mourning and respect for the deceased husband, hi 
either ease, if it is proved Thai there is unborn issue, there is of course no question of 
remarriage lor the woman until it is bom. Meanwhile her maintenance on a reasonable 
scale is chargeable to the late husband's estate. 

A definite contract of remarriage for the woman during her period of tddai of 
widowhood is forbidden as obviously unseemly, as also any secrecy in such matters. It 
would bind the woman at a time when she is not fitted to exercise her fullest judgment. 
Bui circumstances may arise when an offer (open for future consideration but not 
immediately decided) mav be to her interests, amt this is permissible, 


- 104 - 

S.2 A. 236-237 


T iyul' 

There is no blame on you 
If ye divorce women 
Before consummation 
Or the fixation of their dower; 
But bestow on them 
(A suitable gift). 

The wealthy 

According to his means. 

And the poor 

According to his means 

A gift of a reasonable amount 

Is due from those 

Who wish to do the right thing. 

And if ye divorce them 
Before consummation, 

But after the fixation 
Of a dower for them. 

Then the half of the dower 
(Is due to them), unless 
They remit it 

Or (the man's half) is remitted 
By him in whose hands 
Is the marriage tie; 2 ' 0 
And the remission 
(Of the man's half) 

If the nearest to righteousness. 
And do not forget 
Liberality between yourselves. 
For Allah sees well 
All that ve do. 


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269. The law declares that in such a case halt the dower fixed shall be paid by the 
man to the woman. Bui it is open to the woman to remit the half due to her or to the 
man to remit the hall which he is entitled u> deduct, and ihus pay the whole. 

270. Him in whose hands is the marriage tie: According to liana 11 doctrine this is 
the husband himself, who can ordinarily by his act dissolve the marriage, it therefore 
behoves him to be all the more liberal to the woman and pay her the full dower even 
if the marriage was not consummated. 


- 105 - 

S.2 A, 238-240 

* J 4 

2 JUI ,>U 


r ijJ\ Sjj- 

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238. Guard strictly 

Your (habit of) prayers. 
Especially the Middle Prayer; 271 
And stand before Allah 
In a devout (frame of mind). 

If ye fear (an enemy), 272 
Pray on foot, or riding, 

(As may be most convenient), 
But when ye are 
In security, celebrate 
Allah's praises in the manner 
He Iras taught you, 

Which ye knew not (before). 

240. Those of you 

Who die and leave widows 
Should bequeath 
For their widows 
A year's maintenance 
Without expulsion; 273 
But if they leave 
(The residence). 

There is no blame on you 
For what they do 
With themselves. 

Provided it is reasonable. 

And Allah is Exalted in Power, 




j£Jf ji 

271. The Middle Prayer ; SaldtuTwitsta: may be translated “t he best or the most 
excellent prayer, ' Authorities differ as to the exact meaning of this phrase. The weight 
of authorities seems to be in favour of interpreting this as the 'Asr prayer (in the middle 
of the afternoon). This is apt to be most neglected, and yet this is the most necessary, 
to remind us of Allah in the midst of our worldly affairs, 

272. Verses 238-239 are parenthetical, introducing the subject of prayer in danger. 
This is more fully dealt with in iv, 101-03. 

273. Opinions differ whether the provision (of a year's maintenance, with residence), 
for a widow is abrogated by the share which the widow gets (one-eighth or one- fourth) 
as an heir (Q. iv. 12). I do not think it is. The bequest (where made) takes effect as 
a charge on the property, but the widow can leave the house before the year is out, and 
presumably the maintenance then ceases. 

- 106 * 

S.2 A. 24 1-244 J.2 

^ *- ht -■ 

241. For divorced women 
Is ;» suitable Gift 
This is a duty 

On the righteous. 

242. Thus doth Allah 
Make dear Mis Signs 
To you: in order that 
Ye may understand. 


243. Didst thou not 

Turn by vision to those 
Who abandoned their homes, 
Though they were thousands 
(In number), for fear of death? 
Allah said to them: "Die": 

Then He restored them to life. 274 
For Allah is full of bounty 
To mankind, hut 
Most of them are ungrateful. 

244. '[’hen light in the cause 

Of Allah, and know that Allah 
Hcureth and knoweth all things. 2 


I &$iOt ♦ 

a ' j ->*- y ' (vJ»j 

274, We now return to the subject of Jihad, which we left at ii. 214-216. Wc are 
to be uniter no illusion about it. If we are not prepared to fight for our faith, with our 
lives and all our resources, both our lives and our resources will he wiped out by our 
enemies. As to life, Allah gave it, and a coward is not likely to save it. Ii has happened 
again and again in history that men who tamely sub mil ted to be driven from their homes 
although they were more numerous than their enemies, hud the sentence of death 
pronounced on them for their cowardice, and they deserved it But Allah gives further 
and further chances in His mercy. This is a lesson to every generation The Commentators 
differ as to the evact episode referred to, but the wording is perfectly general, and so 
is the lesson to be learnt from it, 

275. For Allah's cause we must fight, but never to satisfy our own selfish passions 
or greed, for the warning is repeated: ‘ Allah heareth and knoweth all things*': alt deeds, 
words, and motives are perteclly open before Him, however we might conceal them from 
men or even from ourselves. See ii. 216, n. 236, 

- 107 - 

S. 2 A. 245-246 J.2 jUt T 5yJl ijj-* 

245. Who is he 

Thai will loan to Allah 
A beautiful loan/ 7 *’ which Allah 
Will double unto his credit 
And multiply many times? 

It is Allah that givcth (von) 
Want or Plenty. 

And to Him shall be 
Your return. 

246, Has thou not 

Turned thy vision to the Chiefs 
Of the Children of Israel 
After (the lime of) Moses 277 
They said to a Prophet 27 * 

(That was) amone them: 


)-> iilj 1 7 j] 

276. Spending in the cause of Allah is called metaphorically + 'a beaut iluE loan”. It 
is excellent in many ways: (l) it shows a beautiful spirit of self-denial: (2) in other loans 
there may be a doubt as to the safety of your capital or any return thereon: here you 
give to the Lord of All, in Whose hands are the keys of want or plenty: giving you may 
have manifold blessings, and withholding, you may even lose what you have. If we 
remember that our goal is Allah, can we turn away from Mis cause? 

277. The next generation after Moses and Aaron was ruled by Joshua, who crossed 
the Jordan and settled the tribes in Palestine. Ilis rule lasted for 25 years, after which 
there was a period of 3211 years when the Israelites had a chequered history. They were 
not united among themselves, and suffered many reverses at the hands of the Midiunues, 
Amalekiles, and other tribes of Palestine. They frequently lapsed into idolatry and 
deserted the worship of the true God Prom lime to lime a leader appeared among them 
who assumed dictatorial powers. Acting under a sort of theocratic commission from Allah, 
he pointed out their backsliding** re-united them under His banner, and restored, from 
time to time and place to place, the power of Israel These dictators are called Judges 
in the English translation of the Old Testament, The last of their line was Samuel, who 
marks the transition towards the tine of Kings on the one hand and of the later Prophets 
on the other. He may be dated approximately about the 1 1th century B.C. 

278. This was Samuel In his time Israel had suffered from much corruption within 
and many reverses without. The Philistines had made a great attack and defeated Israel 
with great slaughter. The Israelites, instead of relying on Faith and their own valour and 
cohesion, brought out their most sacred possession, the Ark of the Covenant, to help 
them in the fight. But the enemy captured it, carried it away, and retained it for seven 
months. The Israelites forgot that wickedness cannot screen itself behind a sacred relic. 
Nor can a sacred relic help the enemies of faith. The enemy found that the Ark brought 
nothing but misfortune for themselves, and were glad to abandon it. It apparently 
remained twenty years in the village (qaryai of Ya'arim (Kirjath-jcarim); I, Samuel, v Li 
2, Meanwhile the people pressed Samuel to appoint them a king They thought that a 
king would cure all their ills, whereas what was wanting was a spirit of union and 
discipline and a readiness on their part of fight in the cause of Allah. 

- 108 - 

$2 A, 246-247 

** Appoint for us a King, lhat we 

May fight in the cause of Allah/ 

He said; *is it not possible , 274 

If ye were commanded 

To fight, that ye 

Will not fight ?’ 1 They said: 

“How could we refuse 
To fight in the cause of Allah, 
Seeing that we were turned out 
Of our homes and our families ? 1 
But when they were commanded 
To fight, they turned back. 
Except a small band 
Among them. But Allah 
Has full knowledge of those 
Who do wrong. 

Their Prophet said to them; 
“Allah hath appointed 
Talut 2KU as king over you/' 

They said: “How- can he 
Exercise authority over us 
When we arc belter fitted 
Than he to exercise authority, 
And he is not even gifted. 

With wealth in abundance?” 

He said: Allah hath 
Chosen him above you. 

And hath gifted him 
Abundantly with knowledge 

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279, Samuel knew as a Prophet that the people were fickle and only wanted to cover 
their own want of union and true spirit by asking for a king. They replied with spirit 
in words, hut when it came to action, they tailed. They hid themselves in eaves and rocks, 
or ran away, and even those who remained ''followed hint trembling'*; I Samuel, xiih 6-7. 

2SU. Talut is the Arabic name for Saul, who was tall and handsome, but belonged 
to the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, His worldly belongings were slender, 
and it w r as when he went out to search for some asses which had been tost from his 
father's house that he met Samuel and was anointed king by him. The people’s fickleness 
appeared immediately he was named. They raised all sorts of petty objections to him. 
The chief consideration in their minds was selfishness: each one wanted to be leader and 
king himself, instead of desiring sincerely the good of the people as a whole, as a leader 
should do. 

- 109 - 

S,2 A, 247-249 



And bodily prowess: Allah 
Granielh His authority to whom 
He pleaseth; Allah is 
All-embracing, and I Ic knoweth 
All things/' 

And (further) their Prophet 

Said to them: 41 A Sign 

Of his authority 

Is that there shall come 

To you the Ark of the Covenant, 281 

With (an assurance) therein 

Of security 282 from your Lord, 

And the relics left 

By the family of Moses 

And the family of Aaron, 

Carried by angels. 281 
In this is a Symbol 
For you if ye indeed 
Have faith.” 


When Taint set forth 
With ihe armies, he said: 

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28 L ArA of the Covenant: Tahut: a chest of acacia wood covered and lined with pure 
gold, about 5ft. X 3ft. X 3ft, See Exod. xxv* 10-22, It was to contain the “testimony 
of Allah”, or the Ten Commandments engraved on stone, with relics of Moses and 
Aaron. Its Gold lid was to be the “Mercy Seat.” This was a sacred possession to Israel. 
It was lost to the enemy in Ihe early part of Samuel's ministry: see it. 278 to ii. 246: 
when it came back, it remained in a village for twenty years, and was apparently taken 
to the capital when kingship was instituted. It thus became a symbol of unity and 

282. Security: sakina = safety, tranquillity, peace. Later Jewish writings use the same 
word for a symbol of Allah's Glory in the Taber nade or lent in which the Ark was kept, 
or in the Temple when it was built by Solomon. 

283. Carried by angels: these words refer to the Tabut or Ark. 

284. A Commander is hampered by a targe force if it is not in perfect discipline and 
does not whole-heartedly believe in its Commander. He must get rid of all the doubttiil 
ones, as did Gideon before Saul, and Henry V. in Shakespeare's story long afterwards. 
Saul used the same lest as Gideon: he gave a certain order when crossing a stream: the 
greater part disobeyed, and were sent back. Gideon's story will be found in Judges, vii, 

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- 110 - 

S.2 A. 249-251 J.2 jWl ^i-l 

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'Allah will lest you 
At the stream; if any 
Drinks of its water; 
lie goes not with my army: 

Only those who taste not 
Of it go wiih me: 

A mere sip out of the hum! 

Is excused.” But they 
Drank of it, except a few-. 

When they crossed the river,- 
He and the faithful ones with him. 
They said: “This day 285 
We cannot cope 
With Goliath and Iris forces.” 

But those who were convinced 
That they must meet Allah, 

Said: "How oft, by Allah’s will. 
Hath a small force 
Vanquished a big one? 

Allah is with those 
Who steadfastly persevere." 

When they advanced 

To meet Goliath and his forces. 

They prayed: “Our Lord! 

Lour out constancy on us 
And make our steps firm: 

Help us against those 
That reject faith," 

By Allah's will, 

They routed them; 

And David' Nl slew Goliath; 


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2H5. Even in die smalt hand that remained faithful, there were some who were 
appalled by the number of the enemy when they met him face to face, and saw the size 
and strength of the enemy Commander, the giant Goliath (Jalut). But there was a very 
small hand who were determined to face all odds because they had perfect confidence 
in Allah and in the cause for which they were fighting. They were for making a firm 
stand and seeking Allah's help. Of that number was David: see next note. 

Note how the whole story is compressed into a few words as regards narration, 
hut its spiritual lessons are dwelt upon from many points of view. The Old Testament 
is mainly interested in the narrative, which is full of detail, hut savs little aboui the 

- Ill * 

S.2 A*25l 

252 , 

And Allah gave him 
Power and wisdom 
And tail ghi him 
Whatever (else) He willed."* 7 
And did not Allah 
Check one set of people 
By means of another. 

The earth would indeed 
Be full of mischief: 

But Allah is full of bounty 
To nil the worlds. 288 

These are the signs 
Of Allah: we rehearse them 
To thee in truth: verity 
Thou art one of the Messengers. 

■v. 4 a; 


at _J>:V to 

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universal truths of which every true story is ;i parable, 1’Ue Qur-an assumes the story, 
but tells the parable, 

David was a raw youth, with no arms or armour. lie was not known even in the 
Israelite camp, and the giant Goliath mocked him. Even Davids own elder brother chid 
him for deserting Ins sheep, for he was a poor shepherd lad to outward appearance, hui 
his faith had made him more than a match for the Philistine hosts. When Saul offered 
his own armour and arms to David, the young hero declined, as he had not tried them, 
while Ins shepherds sling and staff were his well-tried implements, lie picked up five 
smooth pebbles on die spot from the stream, and used his sling to such effect that he 
knocked down Goliath. He then used Goliath's own sword to slay him. There was 
consternation in the bhilisiinc army: they broke and fled, and were pursued and cut to 

Apart from the main lesson that if we would preserve our national existence and our 
faith it is our duty to fight with courage and firmness, there are other lessons in David's 
story: 0) numbers do not count, but faith, determination and the blessing of Allah; (2) 
size and strength are of no avail against truth . courage, and careful planning; (3) the hero 
tries his own weapons, and those that arc available to him at the time and place, even 
though people may laugh at him: (4) ii Allah is with us, the enemy's weapon may become 
an instrument of his own destruction; (5) personality conquers all dangers, and puts heart 
into our own wavering friends; (6) pure faith brings Allah’s reward, which may take many 
forms: in David's case ii was Power, Wisdom, and other gifts; see next note, 

287, David was not only a shepherd, a warrior, a king, a wise man, and a prophet, 
but was also endowed with the gifts of poetry and music, 

288. Allah's plan ts universal. He loves and protects ail His creatures and His 
bounties are for all the worlds (i. 2 u.). To protect one He may have to check another, 
but we must never lose faith that His love is for all in boundless measure. 

- 112 - 

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253, Those Messengers 

We endowed with gifts. 

Some above others: 289 
To some of them Allah spoke: 2 ' 81 
Others He raised 
To degrees (of honour); 391 
To Jesus the son of Mary 
We gave Clear (Signs), 2 ' 12 
And strengthened him 
With the Holy Spirit, 292 ' A 
If Allah had so willed. 

Succeeding generations 
Would not have fought 
Among each other, after 
Clear (Signs) had come to them 
But they (chose) to wrangle 
Some believing and others 
Rejecting* If Allah had so willed. 
They would not have fought 

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2SV, Different gifts and different modes of procedure are prescribed to Allah's 
Messengers in different ages, and perhaps their degrees are different though it is not for 
us mortals, with our imperfect knowledge, to make any difference between one and 
another of Allah's Messengers (ii. 136). As this winds up the argument about fighting, 
three illustrations are given from the past, how it affected Allah's Messengers. To Moses 
Allah spoke directly: he led his men for forty years through the wilderness, mainly 
lighting against the unbelief of his own people; he organised them to fight with the sword 
for Palestine, hut w^as raised to Allah’s mercy before his enterprise ripened, and ii fell 
to Joshua to carry out his plan. David was chosen by Allah. He overthrew the greatest 
warrior of his time, became a king, a Prophet and waged successful wars. Jesus was 
'strengthened with the holy spirit’’ he was given no weapons to fight, and his mission 
was of a more limited character. In Muhammad's mission these and other characters were 
combined. Gentler than Jesus, he organised on a vaster scale than Moses* and from 
Madinah he ruled and gave laws, and the Qur-an has a vaster scope than the Scriptures 

290. Moses: sec note above. 

291. There is a tw ? o-fold sense: they were raised to high posts of honour, and they 
rose by degrees, 

292. Cf, ii. 87. See n. 4111 to i ii, 62. 

292- A. "Holy spirit," according to commentators signifies Gabriel. 

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- 113 - 

S.2 A. 253-255 

J. 3 aJUJi *jJL| 

Each other; but Allah 
Does whal lie wills. 24,1 


254* O ye who believe! 

Spend out of (the bounties) 2 ' 14 
We have provided for you* 

Before the Day comes 
When no bargaining 
(Will avail), nor friendship 
Nor intercession. 2 * 5 
Those who reject Fait h-t hey 
Arc the wrong-doers 

255. Allah! There is no god 
But He, -the Living* 

The Self-subsisting* Supporter of all 2 

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293. If same power of choice was to he given to man. Ins selfishness inevitably caused 
divisions, ti must not be supposed that it frustrates Allah's Plan, lie carries it out as He 

294. Spend* i*e*. give away in charity, or employ in good works, hut do not hoard. 
Good works would in Islam include everything that advances the good of one that is in 
need whether a neighbour or a stranger or that advances the good of the community, 
or even the good of die person himself to whom Allah has given the bounty. But it must 
be real good and there should be no admixture of baser motives, such as vainglory* or 
false indulgence, or encouragement of idleness* or playing off one person against another. 
The bounties include mental and spiritual gifts as well as wealth and material gifts. 

295. Cf. ii, 123 and ii. 48. 

2%. This is the Ayaf-itt-Kurst, the "Verse of the Throne** Wlvo can translate its 
glorious meaning, or reproduce the rhythm of its well-chosen and comprehensive words. 
Even in the original Arabic the meaning seems to be greater than can be expressed in 

The attributes of Allah are different from anything we know in our present world: 
He lives, but HU life is self-subsisting and eternal: it does not depend upon other beings 
and is not limited to tune and space. The attribute of Qaiyum includes not only the idea 
of "Self-subsisting" but also the idea of "Keeping up and maintaining all life.” His liFe 
being the source and constant support of all derived forms of life. Perfect life is perfect 
activity, in contrast to the imperfect life which we see around us* which is not only subject 
to death but to the need for rest or slowed-down activity* (something which is between 
activity and sleep, for which 1 in common with other translators have used the word 
"slumber") and the need for full sleep itself. Bui Allah has no need for rest or sleep. 
His activity, tike His life, is perfect and self-subsisting Contrast with this the expression 
used in Psalms Ixxviii, 65. "Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep* and like a mighty 
man that should h by reason of wine.” 

■ : — : ~ : — — 

- 114 - 

S.2 A .255-256 J. 3 aJUl *jJL| 

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No slumber can seize Him 
Nor sleep, 1 1 is are all things 
In the heavens and on earth. 
Who is thee can intercede 
In Elis presence except 
As lie permitted!? I le knoweth 
What (appeareth to His creatures 
As) Before or After 
Or Behind them. 31,7 
Nor shall they compass 
Aught of I [is knowledge 
Except as He willcth. 

His Tii rone doth extend" ' 

Over the heavens 
And the earth, and He fee lei h 
No fatigue in guarding 
And preserving them 2 '* 1 
For He is the Most High, 

The Supreme (in glory). 

256. Let there he no compulsion^* 1 
In religion: Truth stands out 

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297. After we realise that His Life is absolute Life. His Being is absolute Being, 
while others are contingent and evanescent, our ideas of heaven and earth vanish like 
shadows. Such reality as our heavens and our earth possess is a refleciion of His absolute 
Reality, The pantheist places the wrong accent when he says that everything is lie. The 
truth is better expressed when we say that everything is His. How then can any creatures 
stand before Him as of right, and claim to intercede for a fellow-creature? But He in 
His Wisdom and Plan may grade His creatures and give one superiority over another. 
Then by His will and permission such a one may intercede or help according to the laws 
and duties laid on him. Allah's knowledge is absolute, and is not conditioned by lime 
or Space. To us. His creatures, these conditions always apply. His knowledge and our 
knowledge are therefore in different categories, and our knowledge only gels some 
reflection of Reality when it accords with His Will and Plan 

29K r Throne: seal. In our thoughts we exhaust everything when we say the heavens 
and the earth". Well, then, in everything is the working of Allah's power, and will, and 
authority. Everything of course includes spiritual things as well as things of sense, 

299, A life of activity that is imperfect or relative would not only need rest for 
carrying on its own activities, but would be in need of double rest when it has to look 
after and guard, or cherish, or help other activities. In contrast with this is the Absolute 
Life, which is free from any such need or contingency. For it is supreme above anything 
that we can conceive. 

31X1. Compulsion is incompatible with religion: because (I) religion depends upon 
faith and will, and these would be meaningless if induced by force: (2) Truth and Error 

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-II 5 - 

S,2 A, 256-258 

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Clear from Error: whoever 
Rejects Tagut 300- * ami believes 
In Allah hath grasped 
The most trustworthy 
Hand-hold, that never breaks. " l 
And Allah heard h 
And knoweth all things. 

257. Allah is the Protector 
Of those who have faith; 

From the depths of darkness 
He leads them forth 
Into light. Of those 
Who reject faith the patrons 
Arc the Tagut from light 
They will lead them forth 
Into the depths of darkness. 
They will he Companions 
Of the fire, to dwell therein 
(For ever)* 


258. Hast thou not 
Turned thy thought to one 
Who disputed with Abraham 
About his Lord, because 
Allah had granted him 



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4 1 ftft* ft 

have been so clearly shown up by the mercy of Allah that there should he no doubt in 
the minds of any persons of goodwill as to the fundamentals of faith: (3) Allah's 
protection is continuous, and His Plan is always to lead us iront the depths of darkness 
into the clearest light. 

3(H)- A. Tagut' here means: anything worshipped beside Allah. 

301 Hand hold: something which the hands can grasp for safety in a moment of 
danger. It may he a loop or a handle, or anchor. If it is without flaw, so that there is 
m» danger of breaking our safety is absolutely assured so long as we hold fast to it. Our 
safely then depends on our own will and faith: Allah's help and protection will always 
be unfailing if we hold firmly to Allah and trust in Him. 

302. The three verses 25H-260 have been the subject of much controversy as to the 
exact meaning to be attached to the incidents and the precise persons alluded to, whose 
names are not mentioned. In such matters, where the Qur an has given no names and 
the Holy Prophet has himself given no indication, it seems to me useless to speculate, 
anil still worse to pul forward positive opinions. In questions of learning, speculations are 

- 116 - 

S.2 A. 258-259 

J. 3 OJUI *jjL| 


Power? Abraham said; 

“My Lord is He Who 
Giveth life and death/' 

He said: “I give life and death/ 1 
Said Abraham: “But it is Allah 
Thai cause! h the sun 
To rise from the East: 

Do thou then cause it 
To rise from the West/ 1 
Thus was he confounded 
Who (in arrogance) rejected 
Faith. Nor doth Allah 
Give guidance 
To a people unjust. 303 

259. Or (lake) the similitude 
Of one who passed 
By a hamlet, all in ruins 304 


often interesting. But it seems to me that the meaning of the Qur an is so wide and 
universal that we are in danger of missing the real and eternal meaning if we go on 
disputing about minor points. AN three incidents are such as may happen again and again 
in any prophet’s life-lime, and he seen in impersonal vision at any time. Here they are 
connected with A 1-Mus tufa's vision as shown by the opening words of verse 258, 

3N3, The first pohu illustrated is the pride of power, and the impotence of human 
power as against Allah's power. The person who disputed with Abraham may have been 
Nimrod or some ruler in Babylonia, or indeed elsewhere. I name Babylonia as it was 
the original home of Abraham (Ur of the Chaldees), and Babylon prided herself on her 
arts and sciences in the ancient world. Science can do many wonderful things; it could 
then; it can now. But the mystery of Life baffled science then, as it continues to baffle 
science now, after many centuries of progress. Abraham had faith, and referred back 
everything to the true Creator. A sceptical ruler might jestingly say: “ l have the power 
of life and death.” A man of science might say: "We have investigated the laws of life 
and death/' Different kinds of powers lie in the hands of kings anti men of knowledge. 
The claim in both cases is true in a very limited sense. Bvit Abraham confounded the 
elaimer by going hack to fundamentals. iL lf you Had the ultimate power, why could you 
not make the sun rise from the West?” 

304, This incident is referred variously (1) to Ezekiel's vision of dry hones (Ezekiel, 
xxxv ii 1-IN); (2) to Nehemiuh's visit to Jerusalem in ruins after the Captivity, and to its 
re-building (Nchemiah, i. 12-20); and |3) to Uzair, or Ezra, or Esdras. the scribe, priest, 
and reformer, who was sem by the Persian King after the Captivity to Jerusalem, and 
about whom there are many Jewish legends. As to (1), there are only four words in this 
verse about bones. As to (2) and (3), there is nothing specific to connect this verse with 
cither. The wording is perfectly general, and we must understand it as general. I think 
it does refer not only to individual, but to national, death and resurrection. 

- 117 - 

S.2 A. 259-261) J. 3 uJliil t^L-l T iyUl S Jr - 

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To its roots. He said: 

"Oh! how shall Allah 
Bring it (ever) to life, 

After (this) its death?” 

But Allah caused him 
To die for a hundred years t 
Then raised him up (again). 
He said: '‘How king 
Didst thou tarry (thus)?" 

He said: "(Perhaps) a clay 
Or part of a day." He said: 
“Nay, thou hast tarried 
Thus a hundred years: 

But look at thy food 
And thy drink; they show 
No signs of age: and look 
At thy donkey: and that 
We may make of thee 
A Sign unto the people. 

Look further at the hones. 
How We bring them together 
And clothe them with flesh 
When this was shown dearly 
To him, lie said: "I know 
That Allah hath power 
Over all i kings,” 

Behold! Abraham said: 

"My Lord! Show me how 

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305, A man is in despair when he sees the destruction of a whole people, city, or 
civilisation. But Allah can cause resurrection as Me has done many times in history, and 
as He will do at the final Resurrection. Time is nothing before Allah. The doubter thinks 
that he has been dead or "tarried thus" a day or less when the period has been a century. 
On the other hand, the food and drink which he left behind is intact, and as fresh as 
it was when he left it. But the donkey is not only dead, but nothing but hones is left 
of it. And before the man’s eyes, the bones are reunited, clothed with flesh and blood, 
and restored to life. Moral: (I) Time is nothing to Allah; (2) It affects different tilings 
in different ways; (3) ihe keys of life and death are in Allah's hand; (4) Man’s power 
is nothing; his faith should be in Allah. 






























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- 118 - 

S.2 A.260-262 

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Thou givest life to the dead 
He said: “Dost thou not 
Then believe?" He said: 

“Yeal but to satisfy 
My own heart. 

He said: "Take four birds; 

Tie them (cut them into pieces). 
Then put a portion of them: 
On every hill, and call to them: 
They will come to thee 
{laying) with speed. 

Then know that Allah 
Is Exalted in Power, Wise." 


The parable of those 
Who spend their wealth 
In the way of Allah is that 
Of a grain of corn: it groweth 
Seven ears, and each car 
Hath a hundred grains. 

Allah giveth manifold increase 
To whom He plcascth: 

And Allah caret h for all 
And He knoweth all tilings. 

Those who spend 

Their wealth in the cause 

Of Allah, and follow not up 

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306. Verse 258, we saw. illustrated Allah's power over Life and Death, contrasted 
with man's vain boasts or imaginings. Verse 259 illustrated how Time is immaterial to 
Allah’s working; tilings, individuals and nations are subject to laws of life and death, 
which are under Allah's complete control, however much we may he misled by 

307. Abraham had complete faith in Allah’s power, but he wanted, with Allah's 
permission, to give an explanation of that faith to his own heart and mind. 

308. A portion of ilium: Jtiz-an. The Commentators understand this to mean that 
the birds were to be cm up and pieces of them were to be put on the hills. The cutting 
up or killing is not mentioned but they say that it is implied by an ellipsis, as the question 
is how Allah gives life to the dead. 














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- 119 - 

S.2 A. 262-264 

J. 3 

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Their gifts with reminders 
Of ihcir generosity 
Or with injury for them 
Their reward is with their Lord: 
On them shall he no fear. 

Nor shall they grieve. 

2fi3. Kind words' ^ 

And covering of faults 
Are better than charity 
Followed by injury. 

Allah is Free of all wants. 

And He is most Forbearing, 

264 r O ye who believe! 

Cancel not your charity 
By reminders of your generosity 
Or by injury-like those 
Who spend their wealth 
To he seen of men. 

But believe neither 
In Allah nor in the Last Day,* 1111 
They arc in Parable like a hard. 
Barren rock, on which 
Is a little soil: on it 

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3H9. A very high standard is set for charity, (l) It must be in the way of Allah, (2) 
h must expect no reward in this world, (3) It must not be followed by references or 
reminders to the act of charity, (4) Still less should any annoyance or injury be caused 
to the recipient, eg,, by boasting that the giver relieved the person in the hour of need. 
Indeed, the kindness and the spirit which turns a blind eye to other people's faults or 
short- comings is the essence of charity: these things are better than charity if charity is 
spoilt by tricks that do harm. At the same time, while no reward is to lie expected, there 
is abundant reward from Allah-material, moral* and spiritual -according to His own good 
pleasure and plan. If we spend in the way of Allah, it is not as if Allah was in need 
of our charily. On the contrary our short-comings are so great that we require His utmost 
forbearance before any good ihut we can do can merit His praise or reward. Our motives 
are so mixed that our ties! may really be very poor if judged by a very strict standard. 

3 III. False charity* "to be seen of men," is really no charity. It is worse, for it 
betokens a disbelief in Allah and the Hereafter- “Allah seeth well whatever ye do” (ii, 
265}, El iv compared to hard barren rock on which by chance has fallen a little soil. Good 
rain* which renders fertile soil more fruitful, washes away the little soil which this rock 
had, and exposes its nakedness. What good can hypocrites derive even from the little 
wealth they mav have amassed? 

- 120 * 

J. 3 eJUl oLl T i jiJI ijj— 

ft .f 'j A|- 5 ftp iAp J A * ^ A [» tj A ■ ^jA™ ■•* A * *, i\j* » *• j_Ap *Ap * J^jp * A p * A ^ ijAj 

S.2 A. 264-266 


Tails heavy rain. 

Which leaves it 
(Just) a hare stone. 

They will be able to do nothing 
With aught they have earned. 
And Allah guideth not 
Those who reject faith. 

And the likeness of those 
Who spend their wealth 
Seeking to please Allah 
And to strengthen their souls. 

Is as a garden, high 
And fertile: heavy rain 11 
Falls on it but makes it yield 
A double increase 
Of harvest, and if it receives mil 
Heavy rain, light moisture 
Sufficed! it, Allah sceth well 
Whatever ye do. 


£ s *■ *C\S >~X' 

Does any of you wish 
That he should have a garden 
With date-palms and vines 
And streams flowing 
Underneath, and all kinds 


311. True charity is like a field with good soil on a high situation. 1 1 catches good 
showers of rain, the moisture penetrates the soil, and yet its elevated situation keeps it 
well-drained, and healthy favourable conditions increase its output enormously. But 
supposing even that the rain is not abundant, it catches dew and makes the most of any 
little moisture it can get, and that is sufficient for it. So a man of true charity is spiritually 
healthy; he is best situated to attract the bounties of Allah, which he does not hoard 
selfishly but circulates freely. In lean times he still produces good works, and is content 
with what he has. Me looks to Allah's pleasure and the strengthening of his own soul. 

312. The true nature of charily having been explained in three parables (ii. 261. 264. 
265) a fourth parable is now added, explaining its bearing on the whole of our life. 
Suppose we had a beautiful garden well-watered and fertile, with delightful views of 
streams, and a haven of rest for mind and body; suppose old age were creeping in on 
us, and our children were either too young to look after themselves or too feeble in 
health; how should wc feel if a sudden whirlwind came with lightning or fire in its train, 
and burnt it up, thus blasting the whole of our hopes for the present and for the future, 
and destroying the result of all our labour and savings in the past? Well, this life of ours 
is a probation. We may work hard, we may save, we may have good luck. We may make 
ourselves a goodly pie usance, and have ample means of support for ourselves and our 

* 121 - 

S.2 A* 266-267 

Of fruit, while he is stricken 
With old age, and his children 
Are not strong (enough 30 
To look, after themselves)- 
That it should be caught 
In a whirlwind, 

With fire therein, 

And be burnt up? 

Thus doth Allah make clear 
To you (His) Signs; 

That yc may consider. 


267. O ye who believe! 

Give of the good things 
Which ye have (honourably) 

earned, 33 

And of the fruits of the earth 
Which We have produced 

a *-i ^ ^ # ^ ■rr -p ' > 

children, A great whirlwind charged with lightning and fire comes and hums up the whole 
show. We arc loo old to begin again: our children are loo young or feeble to help us 
to repair the mischief. Our chance is lost, because we did not provide against such a 
contingency* The whirlwind is the “wrath to come”; the provision against it is a life of 
true charity and righteousness, which is the only source of true and lasting happiness in 
this weald and the next. Without it we are subject to all the vicissitudes of this uncertain 
life. Wc may even spoil our so-called charity” by insisting on the obligation which others 
owe to us or by doing some harm, because our motives are not pure. 

313. Not strong (enough): dhuafa-u: literally weak, decrepit, infirm, possibly referring 
to both health and will or character. 

314. According to the English proverb “Charity covers a multitude of sins”. Such a 
sentiment is strongly disapproved in Islam Charity has value only if (1) something good 
is given. (2) which has been honourably earned or acquired by the giver, or (3) which 
can be referred to as a bounty of Allah. (I) may include such things as are of use and 
value to others though they may be of less use to us or superfluous to us on account 
of our having acquired something more suitable for our station in life; for example, 
discarded clothes, or an old horse or a used motor car; bat if the horse is vicious, or 
the car engine so far gone that it is dangerous to use, then the gilt is worse than useless; 
il is positively harmful, and the giver is a wrong doer. (2) applies lo fraudulent company- 
promoters, who earn great credit by giving away in charity some of their ill-gotten gains, 
or to robbers (even if they call themselves by high-sounding names) who M rob Peter to 
pay Paul”. Islam will have nothing to do with tainted property. Ms economic code requires 
that every gain should be honest and honourable. Even “charity' 1 would not cover or 
destroy the taint. (3) lays down a test in cases of a doubtful gain. Can we refer to it 

- 122 - 

S.2 A. 267-268 J. 3 eJliil I T 5>Jl iy- 

3Ar aAr v A&£ .i&A gA? jAt aAe .sAe, *&£ \&J-' "A-£ iAe. n£r .o&tf sAfi, 


For you, and do not aim' 15 
At anything 
Which is had, 

Out of it ye may give away 
Something, when ye yourselves 
Would not receive it 
Except with closed eyes. 316 
And know that Allah 
Is Free of all wants, 

And Worthy of all praise* 317 

Satan threatens 
You with poverty 
And bids you to conduct 
Unseemly . Allah promiseth 
You His forgiveness 
And bounties* 318 
And Allah careth for all 
And He knoweth all things. 

> r- *<1? 

d A*J ,*>cjub 

/> i'' * 

ai\j *>LOi3j 

as a gift of Allah? Obviously the produce of honest labour or agriculture can be so 
referred to. In modern commerce and speculation there is much of quite the contrary 
character* and charity will not cover the taint. Some kind of art, skill* or talent are God- 
given: it is the highest kind of charity to teach them or share their product. Others are 
die contrary: they are bad or tainted. In the same way some professions or services may 
be tainted, if these tend to moral harm. 

315. The preceding note tries to indicate some of the things which arc bad or tainted. 
We should not even think of acquiring them for ourselves, soothing our conscience by 
the salve that we shall practise charity out of them. 

316. Closed eyes imply disgust or connivance because of some feature which we 
would not openly acknowledge, 

317. To dedicate tainted things to Allah is a dishonour to Allah, Who is independent 
of all wants, and Who is worthy of all honour and praise. 

318. Good and evil draw us opposite ways and by opposite motives, and the contrast 
is well marked out in charity. When we think of doing some real act of kindness or 
charity, we are assailed with doubts and fear of impoverishment: but evil supports any 
tendency to selfishness, greed, or even to extravagant expenditure for show, or self- 
indulgence* or unseemly appetites. On the other hand, Allah draws us on to all that is 
kind and good* for that way lies the forgiveness of our sins, and greater real prosperity 
and satisfaction. No kind or generous act ever ruined any one. Tt is false generosity that 
is sometimes shown as leading to ruin. As Allah knows all our motives and cares for 
all, and has everything in His power* it is obvious which course a wise man will choose. 
But wisdom is rare, and it is only wisdom that can appreciate true well-being and 
distinguish it from the false appearance of well-being. 

gjjst* 3 v 3 y u *1^5* m J \* u' S’yli* 3y5 * lyrk J y«i ■j'y ui Jy£ ajyl* IJ 'y <■ tfyfi uyS J yt iFyX Jyt 

- 123 - 

S.2 A. 269-27 2 
' - 

272 , 

He gninteth wisdom 
To whom He pleaseth; 

And he to whom wisdom 
Is granted reeeiveth 
Indeed a benefit overflowing; 

But none will receive admonition 
But men of understanding 

And whatever ye spend 
In charity or 

Whatever vow you make, 

Be sure Allah knows it alb 
But the wrong doers 
1 lave no helpers. 

If ye disclose (acts 319 
Of) charity, even so 
It is well. 

Hut if ye conceal them, 

And make them reach 
Those (really) in need. 

That is best for you: 

It will remove from you 
Some of your (stains 
Of) evil. And Allah 
Is well acquainted 
With what ye do. 

It is not for you 

To guide them to the right path? -1 * 


- :;r.*7w 

A Ajl-Ju U j 

Ia ' jjj Olj A^ioi^ 0^ 

^VAj 4#\j 

319. It is belter to seek no publicity in charity. Bui if it is known there is no harm. 
II it is for public purposes, it must necessarily be known, and a pedantic show of 
concealment may itself he a fault. The harm of publicity lies in motives of ostentation. 
We can better reach the really deserving poor by quietly seeking for them. The spiritual 
benefit ensures to our own souls, provided our motives are pure, ami we arc really 
seeking the good pleasure of Allah. 

32U, In connection with charity tins means that we relieve those really in need, 
whether they are good or bad, on the right path or not, Muslims or otherwise. It is not 
for us to judge in these matters. Allah will give light according to lhs wisdom. Incidentally 
it adds a further meaning to the command, "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (iu 
256), For compulsion may not only he by force, but by economic necessity, [it matters 
of religion we must not even compel by a bribe of charity. The chief motive in charity 
should be Allah’s pleasure and our own spiritual good. This was addressed in the first 
instance to Al-Mustafa in Madinah but it is of universal application. 

- 124 - 

S.2 A. 272-273 

J. 3 *)A-I 

But Allah guides 
To the right path 
Whom He pleaseth. 

Whatever of good yc give 
Benefits your own souls. 

Ami ye shall only do so 
Seeking the ''Face" 321 
Of Allah. Whatever good 
Ye give, shall he 
Rendered back to you. 

And ye shall not 
Be dealt with unjustly, 

273. (Charity is) for those 

In need, who, in Allah's cause 
Are restricted (from travel). 
And cannot move about 
In the land, seeking 
(For trade or work): 

The ignorant man thinks. 
Because of their modesty, 

That they are free from want. 
Thou shall know them 
By their (unfailing) mark: 

They beg not importunately 
From all and sundry. 

And whatever of good 
Ye give, be assured 
Allah knoweth it well. 


I £ , SSL * f ^ 

s * ^ - 

321. See note to iL 112, Wajh means literally: face, countenance; hence, favour, 
glory, Self. Presence. 

322. Indiscriminate acts of so-called charity are condemned as they may do more 
harm than good (see ii. 262), The real beneficiaries of charity are here indicated. They 
must he in want. And the want must be due to some honourable cause, For example, 
they may be doing some unpaid service, such as teaching, or acquiring knowledge or skill, 
or be in exile for their faith, or in other ways be prevented from seeking employment 
or doing strenuous work, “Allah’s cause” must not be narrowly interpreted. All sincere 
and real service to humanity comes within the definition. Such men do not beg from door 
to door. It is the duly of those who are well-to-do, or the Public Purse, to find them out. 


- 125 - 

J, 3 dJlili 

Y Su J! 


274, Those who (in charity) 323 
Spent! of their goods 
By night and by day. 

In secret and in public, 

1 lave their reward 
With their Lord: 

On them shall be no fear. 
Nor shall they grieve. 

275. Those who devour usury 324 
Will not stand except 
As stands one whom 
The Satan by his touch 
Hath driven to madness/ 25 
That is because they say: 
“Trade is like usury, 

p-tfj b»-4-u ‘^y^J 

-Ub^ p-* J J >-4 ^ — >.**- a J 

323. We recapitulate the beauty of charity fi e., unselfish giving of one's self or one s 
goods) before we come to its opposite, i.e. t the selfish grasping greed of usury against 
those in need or distress. Charity instead of impoverishing you will enrich you: you will 
have more happiness and less fear. Contrast it with what follows, -the degradation of the 
grasping usurer. 

324. Usury is condemned and prohibited in the strongest possible terms. There can 
be no question about the prohibition. When we come to the definition of Usury there 
is room for difference of opinion. Hadhrat Tlrnnr, according to I bn KatMr, fell some 
difficulty in the matter, as the Prophet left this world before the details of the question 
were settled. This was one of the three questions on which he wished he had had more 
light from the Prophet, Our Ulma, ancient and modern, have worked out a great body 
of literature on Usury, based mainly on economic conditions as they existed at the rise 
of Islam. 

325. An apt simile: whereas legitimate trade or industry increases the prosperity and 
stability of men and nations, a dependence on Usury would merely encourage a race of 
idlers, cruel blood-suckers, and worthless fellows who do not know their own good and 
therefore akin to madmen. 

32h. Owing to the fact that interest occupies a central position in modern economic 
life, and specially since interest is the very life blood of the existing financial institutions, 
a number of Muslims have been inclined to interpret it in a manner which is radically 
different from the undemanding of Muslim scholars throughout the last fourteen centuries 
and is also sharply in conflict with the categorical statements of the Prophet {peace be 
on hint). According to Islamic teachings any excess on the capital is riba (interest). Islam 
accepts no distinction, in so far as prohibition is concerned, between reasonable and 
exorbitant rates of interest, and thus what came to be regarded as the difference between 
usury and interest; nor between returns on bonus for consumption and those for 
production purposes and so on. 

- 126 - 

S.2 A. 275-278 

J. 3 aJbll.jsLl 

T BjpSJl ljj~* 

But Allah hath permitted trade 
And forbidden usury. 

Those who after receiving 
Admonition from their Lord, 
Desist, shall he pardoned 
For the past; their case 
Is for Allah (to judge); 

Bill those who repeat 
(The offence) are Companions 
Of the Fire: they will 
Abide therein (for ever). 

276. Allah will deprive 
Usury of all blessing, 

But will give increase 
For deeds of charity: 

For He loveth not 
Any ungrateful 

277. Those who believe. 

And do deeds of righteousness. 
And establish regular prayers 
And give Zakai* 

Will have their reward 
With their Lord: 

On (hem shall be no fear. 

Nor shall they grieve 

21H. O ye who believe! 

Fear Allah, and give up 
What remains of your demand 
For usury, if ye are 
Indeed believers. 

* Jt'' f ** ^ 

s' -'-'J? ^ 


327, The contrast between charity and unlawful grasping of wealth began at ii. 274, 
where this phrase occurs as a theme. Here the theme finishes with the same phrase. The 
following four verses refer to further concessions on behalf of debtors, as creditors are 
asked to (a) give up even claims arising out of the past on account of usury, and (b) 
to give time for payment of capital if necessary, or (c) to write off the debt altogether 
as an act of chanty. 

* 127 - 

.1.3 dJlill 

T ljU\ lj ji-w- 

\*lt %£.f i yf' 

279, If ye do it not. 

Take notice of war 28 

From Allah and His Messenger: 

But if ye repent 

Ye shall have 

Your capital sums: 

Deal not unjustly. 

And ye shall not 
Be dealt with unjustly. 

* *— > j>u ly jli J 

1 o - j * j ol j 

280 If i he debtor is 
In a difficulty. 

Grant him time 
Till il is easy 
For him to repay. 
But if ye remit il 
By way of charity. 
That is best for you 
If ye only knew. 

t' ,'*'**' -ii t' i. . * •> >. j* & t' 
O' J/r-e <3 1 ^ » op 

281. And fear the Day 
When ye shall be 
Brought back to Allah. 
Then shall every soul 
Be paid what it earned, 
And none shall be 
Dealt with unjustly. 


282, () ye who believe! 

When ye deal with each other. 
In transactions involving 
Future obligations 
tn a fixed period of time. 
Reduce them to writing* 1 



328. This is not war for opinions, but an ultimatum of war for the liberation of 
debtors unjustly dealt with and oppressed. 

329. The first part of the verse deals with transactions involving iuture payment or 
future consideration, and the second part with transactions in which payment and delivery 
are made on the spot. Examples of the former are if goods are bought now and payment _ 

- 128 - 

S.2 A.2S2 

J. 3 JJWl 



v*r aA| 

Let a scribe write down 
Faithfully as between 
The parties: let not the scribe 
Refuse to write: as Allah Un 
Has taught him. 

So let him write. 

Let him who incurs 
The liability dictate, 

Rut lei him fear Allah 
His Lord 
And not diminish 
Aught of what he owes. 

If the parly liable 
Is mentally deficient. 

Or weak, or unable 
Himself to dictate; Ml 
Let his guardian 
Dictate faithfully. 

And gel two witnesses, 

Out of your own men/ 32 
And if there arc not two men. 
Then a man and two women, 
Such as ye choose, 

For witnesses. 

y */ J ^ i • , 4 . ^ */ , ' . 

^ > - 9 < 

jt Uuyyjjjl Lj-JU- v ^>tli t_s jji 

$££ jv pou 

- . i ■*? 

ji j » jj^Lu ^ x* . utT-t; 

is promised at a fixed time and place in the future, or if cash is paid now and delivery 
is contracted for at a fixed lime and place in the future. In such cases a written document 
is recommended, but it is held that the words later on in this verse, that it is “juster,., 
more suitable as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts,” etc,, imply that it 
is not obligatory in law, Examples of the latter kind-cash payment and delivery on the 
spot-require no evidence in writing, but apparently oral witnesses to such transactions are 

330. The scribe in such matters assumes a Judiciary capacity: he should therefore 
remember to act as in the presence or Allah, with full justice to hoih parties. The art 
of writing he should look upon as a gift from Allah, and he should use it as in Mis 
service. In an illiterate population the scribe's position is still more responsible. 

33 L Possibly the person “menially deficient, or weak, or unable to dictate.” may also 
he incapable of making a valid contract, and the whole duty would be on his guardian, 
who again must act in perfect good faith, not only protecting but vigilantly promoting 
the interests of his ward. 

332. It is desirable that the men (or women) who are chosen as witness should be 
from the circle to which the parties belong, as they would best be able to understand 
the transaction, and be most easily available if iheir evidence is required in future. 

- 129 * 


So that if one of them errs. 
The other can remind hen 
The witnesses 
Should nol refuse 
When they arc called on 
(For evidence). 

Disdain not lo reduce 
To writing (your contract) 

For a future period. 

Whether it be small 
Or big; it is juster 
In the sight of Allah. 

More suitable as evidence. 

And more convenient 

To prevent doubts 

Among yourselves 

Hut if it he a transaction 

Which ye carry out 

On the spot among yourselves. 

There is no blame on you 

If ye reduce it not 

To writing. 

But take witnesses 
Whenever ye make 
A commercial contract; 

And let neither scribe 
Nor witness suffer harm. 

If ye do (such harm). 

It would be wickedness 
In you. So fear Allah; 

For it is Allah 
That teaches you. 

And Allah is well acquainted 
With till things . 333 

>j 4jui I j*—>\ } ^ 

£ljB Jr * Ajbfj iif 

333* Commercial morality is here taught on the highest plane and yet in the most 
practical manner, hoth as regards the bargains to be made, the evidence to be provided, 
the doubts to be avoided, and the duties and rights of scribes and witnesses. Probity even 
in worldly matters is to be. not a mere matter of convenience or policy, but a matter 
of conscience and religious duty. Even our every-day transactions are to be carried out 
as in the presence of Allah. 

- 130 - 

S.2 A.2K.V284 J.3 T S^Jl ijj- 

^j' y\t iAr i/ 1 r jAj iAf ,iAf v^x jAf \A j ,>Af lAf lAf iAr jA| jflp \*p ^ (j? 

283, l f ye are on a journey* 

And cannot find 
A scribe, a pic due 
With possession (may serve 
The purpose). ,u 
And if one of you 
Deposits a thing 
On trust with another,"" 

Let the trustee 
(Faithfully) discharge 
1 1 is trust, and let him 
Fear Allah his Lord, 

Conceal not evidence; 

For whoever conceals it. 

Mis heart is tainted Uh 
With sin. And Allah 
Knoweth all that ye do. 


2X4. To Allah bclongeth all 
That is in the heavens 
And on earth* Whether 
Ye show what is in your minds 
Or conceal it, Allah 

jt jiJUjf jlUi jj j i 

S’ ^ <■ ^ 

> *T-» m* * m i s ' ' ' - ^ ^ t if 

Jt Tj 2, jl ^ J3 ._->-. L -ijt I *, 

; > .+* , p* if * sss* f » t s z+ 

b^-yulj Jfj j ' 

4jat 4 j ^C^Uij I 

7 \ ■ T ^ v^-rtc ^i>- 

334, A pledge or security stands on its own independent footing, though it is a very 
convenient form of closing the bargain where the parties cannot trust each other, and 
cannot get a written agreement with proper witnesses. 

335. The law of Deposit implies great trust in the Depositary on the part of the 
Depositor, Tire Depositary becomes a trustee, and the doctrine Of Trust can be further 
developed on that basis. The trustee's duly is to guard the interests of the person on 
whose behalf he holds the trust and to render back the property and accounts when 
required according to the terms of the trust, this duty again is linked to the sanction 
of Religion, which requires a higher standard than Law. 

356. It sometimes happens that if some inconvenient piece of evidence is destroyed 
or concealed, we gain a great advantage materially. We are warned not to yield to such 
a temptation. T he concealment of evidence has a serious effect on our own moral and 
spiritual life, for it taints the very source of higher life* as typified hy the heart. The 
heart is also the seat of our secrets. We are told that the sin will reach our most secret 
being, though the sin may not he visible or open to the world Further, the heart is the 
seal of our affections, and false dealing lainls all our affections. 

Tjt * y * au* w ul ■ 4 gfX 'f'ti't 4 yf\ K»p ^ iJ ^ * u\ SmShE ifyt~' J|?S 5y£ Jyt » u E 4 uV « yV Snyf'W 3'\j% J 

- 131 * 

Catlcili you lo account for ii. 

He forgivcth whom He plcascth. 
And punish eth whom ] le please th. 
For Allah hath power 
Over all things. 

285. The Messenger belicvcth 

In what hath been revealed 
To him from his Lord, 

As do the men of faith, 

Hacli one (of them) believeth 
In Allah, His angels. 

His books, and His Messengers. " 
“We make no distinction (they say) 
Between one and another" n 
Of his Messengers/' And they say: 
“We hear, and we obey: 

(We seek) Thy forgiveness, 334 
Our Lord, and to Thee 
is the end of all journeys/' 

286, On no soul doth Allah 
Place a burden greater 
Than it can bem, M<J 

It gels every good that it earns. 

0 / < K t A 

$ <a|j 

337. This Sara started with the question of faith (ii 3-4), showed us various aspects 
of Faith and the denial of Faith, gave us ordinances for the new People of Islam as a 
community, and now rounds off the argument again with a confession of Faith and of 
us practical manifestation in conduct (“we hear and we obey”), and closes on a note of 
humility, so that we may confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, and pray for Allah's help 
and guidance, 

338, Cf. ii. 253* n. 289* It is not for us to make any distinction between one and 
another of Allah's Messengers: we must honour them all equally, though we know that 
Allah in His wisdom sent them with different kinds of mission and gave them different 
degrees of rank. 

339, When our faith and conduct are sincere, we realise how far from perfection we 
are, and we humbly pray to Allah for the forgiveness of our sins We feel that Allah 
imposes no burden on us that we cannot bear, and with this realisation in our hearts and 
in the confession of our lips, we go to Him and ask for Ills help and guidance. 

340. Cf ii. 233. In that verse the burden was in terms of material wealth: here it 
is in terms of spiritual duly. Assured by Allah that He will accept from each soul just 
such duty as it has the ability to offer, we pray further on for the fulfilment of that 


- 132 - 

And ii suffers every ill that il earns. 
(Pray:) “Our Lord! 

Condemn us not 
If we forget or fall 
Into error; our Lord! 

Lay not on us a burden 
Like that which Thou 
Didst lay on those before us; Mt 
Our Lord! lay not on us 
A burden greater than we 
Have strength to bear. 

Blot out our sins. 

And gram us forgiveness. 

Have mercy on us. 

Thou art our Protector; 

Grant us victory 
Over the unbelievers. 

341. We must not be arrogant, and think that because Allah has granted us His 
favour and mercy vve have no need to exert ourselves, or that we are ourselves superior 
to those before us. On the contrary, knowing how much they failed, we pray that our 
burdens should be lightened, and we confess our realisation that we have all the greater 
need for Allah's mercy and forgiveness. 

And so we end the whole argument of the Sura with a prayer for Allah's help, not 
in our own selfish ends, but in our resolve to uphold Allah's truth against all Unbelief. 

133 - 

Appendix h 

The abbreviated Letters uU-\fuqMa*itt) 

Certain Suras have certain initials prefixed to them, which are called the 
"Abbreviated letters." A number of conjectures have been made as to their 
meaning* Opinions are divided as tu the exact meaning of each particular letter 
or combination of letters, and it is agreed that only Allah knows their exact 

Their presence is not inconsistent with the character of the Our- an as a 
"plain book/* The book of nature is also a plain book, but how few can fully 
understand it? Every one can get out of the Qur an plain guidance for his life 
according to his capacity for spiritual understanding* As Ids capacity grows, so 
will his understanding grow. The whole Book is a Record for ail time. It must 
necessarily contain meanings that only gradually unfold themselves to humanity. 

This is not a mystery of the same class as "mysteries" by which we arc 
asked to believe against the dictates of reason. If we are asked to believe that 
one is three and three is one, we can give no intelligible meaning to the words. 
If we are asked to believe that certain initials have a meaning which will be 
understood in the fullness of lime, we are asked to draw upon Kaith, but we 
are not asked to do any violence to our reason. 

I shall try to discuss some of the probable meanings of any particular 
abbreviated letters or set of abbreviated letters on the first occasion on which 
it appears in the Qur-ati, But ii may be desirable here to lake a general view 
of the facts of their occurrence to help us in appreciating the various views 
which are held about them. 

There arc 29 letters in the Arabic alphabet (counting hamza and atif as two 
letters), and there are 29 Suras which have abbreviated letters prefixed to 
them. One of these Suras (S* xlii.) has two sets of abbreviated letters, but we 
need not count this Sura twice. If we take the half of the alphabet, omitting 
the fraction, we get 14, and this is the number of letters which actually occur 
in the Muqatta-at, 

The 14 letters, which occur in various combinations, arc; 



h C 
L J 

5 P- rm ^ wm w. 

- 134 - 

Appendix L 

J&C 3s&C 

Aj ‘ laufeu^^ 

pk jAfe ife ,iAr I 

r ■rtv-" 


The science of phonetics tells us dial our vocal sounds arise from the 
expulsion of the air from the lungs, and the sounds are determined by the way 
in which the breath passes through the various organs of speech, e,g., the throat 
(guttural), or the various positions of the tongue to the middle or front of the 
palate or to the teeth, or the play of the lips. Everyone of these kinds of sounds 
is represented in these letters. 

Let us now examine the combinations. 

Three of these letters occur alone, prefixed each to only one Sura. The 
letters and Suras are: 

S, xxxviii. 

S. L <ZJ> 

S, Ixxviii, 

The combinations of two letters occur in ten Suras as shown below. Three 
of them occur only once each, but the fourth p-*- occurs in seven consecutive 






















Note that S. xtii, has a double combination of abbreviated letters, one of 
two followed by one of three. See under combinations of five. 

I here are three combinations of three letters each, occurring as follows in 
13 Suras: v 

S. it, 

S. iii. 

S. xxix. jjl 

S. xxx. 

S. xxxi. 

S, xxxii. ^ 

S. x. 

s. xi. 

S. xii. b> jJ' 

S, XLV. 

S. xv. J 

- 135 - 

Appendix I . 

S, xxvi.^L 
S. xxvtii.J 

Combinations of four letters occur twice, each only once:— 

S, vii. 

S. xiii ^-j| * Note that the three 

preceding and the two 
following S liras have the 
triple letters, ^ ■ 

Finally there remain the combinations of five letters, each of which occurs 
once only, as follows: 

S, xix, 
S, xlii. 

In S.xlii. the and are pul in separate verses. From that point 

of view they may he considered two separate combinations. The first 
combination has already been listed under the group of two-letter combinations. 

This arithmetical analysis brings certain facts into prominence, l do not 
know how far they have a bearing on the inner meaning of the Muqatta'dt. 

The combinations of abbreviated letters that run in a series in consecutive 
Suras is noticeable. For example, ^ occurs in seven consecutive Suras from 
xL to xlvi, The combination jS\ occurs in six consecutive Suras x. to xv., 
but in one of them (S, xiii.) it is modified to connecting it with 

the ill series. The jJI series covers 6 Suras, It begins with S. ii. and 
S. hi., which are practically the beginning of the Our- an, and ends with the four 
consecutive Suras xxix. to xxxii. I call S, ii, and $. iii practically the beginning 
of the Gur-an, because S. i. is considered a general introduction to the Qur-an, 
and the first Si para is commonly known as ^Jl , the first verse of S. ii. The 
combination is prefixed to S. xxvi. and S. xxviii, but the intervening S. 

xxvii, has the combination , which may he considered a syncopated 

form, or the three-letter combination ~ U may be considered an extended 
form of JlU . Again the question arises: does the p in JJ1 , , 

and .1 ~ U , stand for the same signification, or docs U mean a different thing 
in each case? We may generalise and say that there arc three scries of six, and 
one series of three, and the others occur all singly. 

We should logically look for a common factor in she Suras bearing the same 
initials, and this factor should be different for Sums bearing other initials. In 
all cases where the abbreviated letters occur, there is some mention of the 
Gur-an or the Book, The Itqdn makes an exception in the case of three Suras 
'Ankabut (S. xxix). Rum (S, xxx), and Nun (S. Ixviii). But a close perusal will 
show that these Suras are no exceptions. In xxix. 27 we have a reference to 

- 136 - 

Appendix l . 

the Book remaining in the family of Abraham , and later on we have a whole 
Section, devoted to the Book, with special reference to the continuity of 
revelation in the previous Books and the Qur an (xxix. 45-51), In xxx. 58 there 
is express mention of the Qur-an, and the whole argument of the Sura leads 
up to the intimate relation between Allah's "Signs" in nature (xxx. 20-27) and 
His revelation in the Qur-an. In S, Ixviii, the very first verse begins the theme 
with the Pen as the instrument of writing, exhorts A1 -Mustafa to stand forth 
boldly to proclaim the Message, and ends (Ixviii, 52) with the declaration that it 
is a Message for all the worlds. 

These are general considerations, which l have thought it most convenient 
to present in the form of an Appendix. 

- 137 - S.3 

\r iAr xt- S&CJ&t ik jAt l&c sAr -.At i£yt jAt jAs 


Tliis Sura is cognate to Sura II, but the matter is here treated from a 
different point of view. The references to Badr (Ramadhan. 1 I 2) and Uhud 
(Shawwnl. H. 3,) give a clue to the dates of those passages. 

Like Sura II. it takes a general view of the religious history of mankind, 
with special reference to the People of the Book, proceeds to explain the birth 
of the new People of Islam and their ordinances, insists on the need of struggle 
and fighting in the cause of Truth, and exhorts those who have been blessed 
with Islam to remain constant in Faith, pray for guidance, and maintain their 
hope for the Future. 

Tie new points of view developed are: (!) The emphasis is here laid on 
the duty of the Christians to accept the new light: the Christians are here 
specially appealed to, as the Jews were specially appealed to in the last Sura: 
(2) the lessons of the battles of Badr and Uhud are set out for the Muslim 
community; and (3) the responsibilities of that community arc insisted on both 
internally and in their relations to those outside, 

Sun unary. -AW ah h a vi n g re vea 1 cd His B ook , con f i mi i n g p re v iu u s re ve I ation s t 
we must accept it in all reverence, try to understand its meaning, and reject 
the base motives which make Truth unacceptable to those who reject Faith, 
(til, 1-20), 

The People of the Book had only a portion of the Book, and if they reject 
the complete Book, the People of Faith must part company with them, and 
their day ts done, (iii, 21-30), 

The story of the family of ‘Imran (the father of Mary) leads us from the 
Mosaic Dispensation to the miracles connected with the birth of Jesus and his 
ministry, (iii. 31-63), 

Allah's revelation being continuous, all people are invited to accept its 
completion in Islam, and controversies are deprecated. The Muslims are asked 
to hold together in union and harmony, and are promised security from harm 
from their enemies, and enjoined to seek friendship among their own people, 
(iii. 64-120), 

The battle of Badr showed how Allah helps and upholds the virtuous, and 
how patience, perseverance, and discipline find their reward: on the other hand, 
the lessons of Uhud must be learnt, not in despair, but in the exercise of the 
higher virtues and in contempt of pain and death, (iii. 121-148). 

The misfortunes at Uhud are shown to be due to the indiscipline of some, 
the indecision and selfishness of others, and cowardice on the part of the 
Hypocrites, but no enemy can hurl Allah's Cause, (iii. 149-180), 

The taunts of the enemy should be disregarded, and sincere prayer offered 
to Allah. Who would grant His servants success and prosperity* (iii, 181-200). 

- 138 - 

Surat A]*' Imran 3 Ayat 1-4 

Juz* 3 ,^Ll 

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___ i %&•••• -v 

At-* Imran, or the Family of ' Imran. 

In ( ht 1 name of Allah, Most Gracious, 
Most Merciful. 

A. L. M 


Allah! There is no gud 
But He, -the Living, 

The Self-Subsisting, 

The Supporter of all.' 43 

It is He Who sent down 
To thee (step by step). 

In truth, the Book, 

Confirming what went before it; 
AncJ He sent down the Torah 
{Of Moses) and the Gospel 344 
(Of Jesus) . 

Before this, 

As o guide to mankind. 

And He sent down the Criterion 545 
(Of judgment between right and 


Then those who reject 
Faith in the Signs of Allah 
Will suffer the severest 
Chastisement and Allah 
Is Exalted in Might, 

Lord of Retribution, 


» -f ^ 

342. See note to ii. 1. 

343. Cf. ii, 255, 

344. la some editions the break between verses 3 and 4 occurs here in the middle of 
the sentence, hut in the edition of Ndfiz ‘Udinvin, followed by the Egyptian Concordance 
Fath'Ur+Rahmdn, the break occurs at the word Fttrq&n, In verse -divisions our classicists 
have mainly followed rhythm. As the word Farqan from this point of view is paratle] to 
the word Iruiqdm, which ends the next verse. I have accepted the verse-division at Furqdn 
as more in consonance with Quranic rhythm. It makes no real difference to the numbering 
of the verses, as there is only a question of whether one line should go into verse 3 or 
verse 4, 

345. Criterion: Furqdn: for meaning see ii, 53 n. 6H 

- 139 - 

S. 3 A. 5-7 

ft. He i! is Who shapes you 

In the wombs as He pleases* 346 
There is no god bin He, 

The Exalted in Might, 

The Wise. 

7. He it is Who lias sent down 
To thee the Book: 

In it are verses 
Basic or fundamental 
Clear (in meaning); 

They are the foundation 34 ' 

Of the Book: others 
Are not entirely dear. But those 
In whose hearts is perversity follow 
The part thereof that is not entirely 


Seeking discord, and searching 
For its interpretation. 

But no one knows 

Its true meanings except Allah. 

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34b. Who can penetrate the mystery of life when a new life is just being bom. except 
Allah? The reference to the mystery of birth prepares us for the mystery of the birth 
of Jesus mentioned in iii. 41 and the following verses. 

347. This passage gives us an important due to the interpretation of the Holy Qur-an. 
Broadly speaking it may be divided into two portions, not given separately, but 
intermingled: v/z. (1) the nucleus or foundation of the Book, literally "the mother of the 
Book”. (2) the part which is not entirely clear. It is very fascinating to take up the latter, 
and exerdse our ingenuity about its meaning, hut it refers to such profound matters that 
are beyond human language and though people of wisdom may get some light from it, 
no one should be dogmatic, as the final meaning is known to Allah alone. The 
Commentators usually understand the verses "of established meaning” (muhkttrn) to refer 
to the categorical orders of the Shari 1 at (or the Law), which arc plain to everyone's 
understanding. But perhaps the meaning is wider: the "mother of the Book" must include 
the very foundation on which all Law rests, the essence of Allah's Message* as 
distinguished from the various illustrative parables, allegories, and ordinances. 

■M — — — — — — — H — — — - 

- 140 - 

SJ A. 7-1 1 

T j! Jl 

.s&t y-tt 

And those who uro firmly grounded 
In knowledge say: “We believe 
In it, the whole of it 
is from our Lord:" and none 
Will grasp the Message 
Except men of understanding. 

8. "O Lord!" (they say), 

“Let not our hearts deviate 
Now after Thou hast guided us. 
But grant us mercy 
From Thee: 

For Thou art the Grantor 
Of bounties without measure. 

9* “Our Lord! Thou art He 
That will gather mankind 
Together against a Day about which 
There is no doubt; for Allah 
Never fails in His promise."^ 


10. Those who reject Faith,- 
Neither their possessions 
Nor l heir (numerous) progeny 
Will avail them aught 
Against Allah: they are themselves 
But fuel for the Fire. 

U. (Their plight will be) 

No better than that 


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34H. One reading, rejected by the majority of Commentators, but accepted by 
Mujahid and others, would not make a break at the point here marked Waq Lazim, but 
would run the two sentences together. In that case the construction would run; “No one 
knows its hidden meanings except Allah and those who arc firm in knowledge. They say", 

349. This is the prayer of those who are firmly grounded in knowledge. The more 
they know the more they realise how little they know. But they have Faith. The glimpses 
they get of Truth they wish to hold fast in their hearts, and they pray to Allah to presene 
them from deviating even from what light they have got. They arc sure of their eventual 
return to Allah, when all doubts will be solved. 

- 141 - 

S. 3 A.IM 3 

J, 3 

r Ji tjj*- 

Of the people of Pharaoh* 50 
And their predecessors: 

They denied our Signs, 

And Allah called them to account 
For their sins. 

For Allah is strict 
In punishment, 

12. Say to those who reject Faith: 
“Soon will ye be vanquished* 51 
And gathered together 

To Hell, -an evil bed 
Indeed (to lie on)! 

13. 'There has already been 
For you n Sign 

In the two armies 

That met (in combat): 552 

One was fighting in the Cause 

Jb »o) ’j 

j rs S' , ^ ^ 


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*/va^-Ujj ; v :. 

350. From the beginning of the world, sin, oppression, arrogance, and want of Faith 
have gone together. The Pharaoh of the time of Moses relied upon his power, his 
territory, his armies, and his resources to mock at Moses the messenger of Allah and 
to oppress the people of Moses. Allah saved the Israelite and punished their oppressors 
through many plagues and calamities, 

35 L As Moses warned the Egyptians, so the warning is here sounded to the Pagan 
Arabs, the Jews and the Christ ians, and ah who resisted Faith, that their resistance would 
he in vain. Already the battle of Badr (referred to in the next verse) had been a warning 
how Faith must conquer with the help of Allah, The next few- decades saw the Byzantine 
and the Persian Empires overthrown because of their arrogance and their resistance to 
the Law of Allah, 

352. This refers to the battle of Badr in Ramadhan in the second year of the Hijra. 
The little exiled community of Mflkkan Muslims, with their friends in Madinah had 
organised themselves into a God-fearing community, but were constantly in danger of 
being attacked by their Pagan enemies of Makkah in alliance with some of the disaffected 
elements (Jews and Hypocrites) in or near Madinah itself. The design of the Makkans 
was to gather all the resources they could, and with an overwhelming force, to crush and 
annihilate Muhammad and his party . To ihis end Abu Sufyan was leading a richly-laden 
caravan from Syria to Makkah. He called for armed aid from Makkah. The hatile was 
fought in the plain of Badr, about [50 kilometers south-west of Madinah. The Muslim 
force consisted of only about 313 men. mostly ill-armed, hut they were led by 
Muhammad, and they were fighting for their Faith. The Makkan army, well-armed and 
well-equipped, numbered over a thousand and had among its leaders some of the most 
experienced warriors of Arabia, including Abu Jahl, the inveterate foe and persecutor of 
Islam. Against all odds the Muslims won a brilliant victory, and many of the enemy 
leaders, including Abu Jahl, were killed. 

A t Jh 

- 142 - 

S.3 A.13-15 

X j* J' hr* 


Of Allah, the other 
Resisting Allah; these saw 
With their own eyes 
Twice their number.' ’ 

But Allah doth support 

With His aid whom I Ic please th. 

In this is a lesson 

For such as have eyes to see," 

Fair in the eyes of men 

Is the love of things they covet: 354 

Women and sons; 

Heaped-up hoards 
Of gold and silver; horses 
Branded (for blood and excellence); 
And (wealth of) cattle 
And well-tilled land. 

Such are the possessions 
Of this world's life; 

But with Allah 

Is the best of the goals 

(To return to). 

Say: Shall 1 give you 
Glad tidings of things 
Far better than those? 

For the righteous are Gardens 
In nearness to their Lord 

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353. Ii was impossible* without the miraculous aid of Allah, for such a small and 
ill-equipped force as was the Muslim band, to defeat the large and well-found force of 
the enemy. But their Faith firmness, zeal, and discipline won them divine aid. Enemy 
prisoners stated that the enemy ranks saw the Muslim force to he many times larger than 
it was. 

354. The pleasures of this world are first enumerated: women for love; sons for 
strength and pride: hoarded riches, which procure all Luxuries; the best and finest pedigree 
horses; cattle, the measure of wealth in the ancient world, as well as the means and 
symbols of good farming in the modern world; and broad acres of well-tilled land. By 
analogy, we may include, for our mechanized age. machines of all kinds .-tractors, motor- 
cars. aeroplanes, the best internal-combustion engines, etc., etc. In *‘hcapcd-up hoards of 
gold and silver,"* the Arabic word translated hoards is qanatir plural of quintfir* w-hich 
literally means a Talent, of 1,200 ounces of gold. 

■’ y v iy‘, -I yV 

- 143 - 

5.3 A. 15-18 

With rivers flowing beneath; 
Therein is their eternal home; 

With spouses purified 3 ” 

And the good pleasure of Allah. 
For in Allah's sight 
Are (all) His servants,- 

16. (Namely)* those who say: 

**Our lord! we have indeed 
Believed: forgive us, then. 

Our sins, and save us 

From the agony of the Fire;"- 

17. Those who show patience. 
(Firmness and self-control:) 1 ^ 

Who are true (in word and deed); 
Who worship devoutly; 

Who spend (in the way of Allah); 
And who pray for forgiveness 
In the early hours of the morning 3 * 

18. There is no god but He: 

That is the witness of Allah, 

1 1 is angels, and those endued 
With knowledge, standing firm 158 
On justice. There is no god but He 
The Exalted in Power, 

The Wise, 

ii'.V ^ v . * 

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355. C/. ii. 25 and n. 44. 

356 Sabr (Sibirin) includes many shades of meaning: I have specified three here, 
viz,, patience, firmness, and self-control. Sec ii. 45 and ii. 153 and notes thereon, 

357. True servants of Allah are described in tit, 16 and 17 They have faith, humility, 

and hope (hi. 16); and they have certain virtues (m. 17) viz., (1) patience, steadfastness, 
self-restraint, and all that goes under ihe full definition of Sabr: this shows a certain 

altitude of mind: (2) in all their dealings they are true and sincere as they arc also in 

their promises and words; this marks them out in social conduct: (3) further, their spiritual 
worship is earnest and deep, an inner counterpart of their outward conduct; (4) their 
worship of Allah shows itself in their love of their fellow -men, for they are ready and 
liberal in charity: and (5) their self-discipline is so great that the first thing they do every- 
morning is humbly to approach their God, 

358, Allah Himself speaks to us through His revelations (through angels) and through 

His Creation, for all Nature glorifies Allah. No thinking mind, if it only judges the matter 

fairly, can fail to find the same witness in his own heart and conscience. All this points 

tti the Unity of Allah, His exalted nature, and His wisdom. 

- 144 - 


J.3 eJUUjJLt 

r Jij** J' »jj- 

19. The Religion before Allah 

Is Islam (submission to His Will): 
Nor did the People of the Hook 
Dissent therefrom except 
Through envy of each other, WM 
After knowledge had come to them. 
But if any deny the Signs of Allah, 
Allah is swift in calling to account . 

20* So if they dispute with thee, 

Say: "I have submitted 
My whole self 3 ™ to Allah 
And so have those 
Who follow me." 

And say to the People of the Book 
And to those who are unlearned: 361 
“Do ye (also) submit yourselves?'* 

If they do, they are in right guidance. 
But if they turn back. 

Thy duty is to convey the Message; 
And in Allah's sight 

Are (all) ! I is servants. 







,, h* 


359. Bagyan: through envy, through selfish contumacy or obstinacy, through sheer 
contrary-minded ness, or desire to resist or rebel Cf. ii. 9(J t and ii. 213. 

360. Wajh: whole self. See n. 114 to ii. 112. 

361. The People of the Book may be supposed to know something about the previous 
religious history of mankind. To them the appeal should he easy and intelligible* as all 
Religion is one, and it is only being renewed in Islam. Rut the appeal is also made to 
the Pagan Arabs, who are unlearned, and who can well be expected to follow the example 
of one of their own, who received divine enlightenment, and was able to bring new 
knowledge to them. A great many of both these classes did so. Bui ihe few who resisted 
Allah's grace, and actually threatened and persecuted those who believed, are told that 
Allah will look after His own. 

362. Note the literary skill in the argument as it proceeds. The mystery of birth 
faintly suggests that we are coming to the story of Jesus. The exposition of the Book 
suggests that Islam is the same religion as that of the People of the Hook. Next we are 
told that the People of the Hook made their religion one-sided* and through the 
priesthood of the family of * Imran, wc are brought to the story* of Jesus* who was rejected 
by a body of the Jews as Muhammad was rejected by a body of both Jews and Christians 

- 145 - 

S.3 A. 21-23 

J. 3 ilJdl *j±-\ 

If jl ywC- Jl ijj~* 


As to those who deny 

The Signs of Allah, and in defiance 

Of right, 563 slay the prophets, 

And slay those who teach 
Just dealing with mankind/*" 4 
Announce to them a grievous 


They are those whose works 
Will hear no fruit 361 * 

In this world 

And in the Hereafter, 

Nor will they have 
Anyone to help. 

Hast thou not turned 
Thy thought to those 
Who have been given a portion 
Of the Book? They are 
Invited to the Book of Allah, 

To settle their dispute. 

But a party of them 
Turn back and decline 
(Thu arbitration). 367 

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363. Right; haqq has many shades of meaning; (1) right, in the sense of having a 
right to something; (2) right, in the sense of straight conduct, as opposed to wrong; (3) 
truth; (4) justice. All these shades are implied here. 

364. Examples of the Prophets slain were: "the righteous blood shed upon the earth, 
from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias. sou of Baraduas, whom 
ye slew between the temple and the altar 1 ': Matt, xxiii. 35. Cf. Q. ii. 61. n 75. Again, 
John the Baptist (Yahya, noble, chaste, a prophet, of the goodly company of the 
righteous. Q, til. 39)* was bound, imprisoned, and beheaded, and his head presented to 
a dancing harlot: Matt, xiv. 1-11, 

365. Cf ii. 217. end. 

366. A portion of the Bonk. ! conceive that Allah's revelation as a whole throughout 
the ages is 'The Book”. The Law of Moses, and the Gospel of Jesus were portions of 
the Book. The Qur-iin completes the revelation and is par excellence the Book of Allah. 

367. The Commentators mention a particular incident when a dispute was submitted 
by the Jews for arbitration to the Holy Prophet. He appealed to the authority of their 
own books, but they tried to conceal and prevaricate. The general lesson is that the 

- 146 - 

S.3 A. 24-27 J. 3 T jl^ Jl hy* 

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24. Tills because they say: 

"The Fire shall not touch us 
But for a few numbered days": 
For their forgeries deceive them 
As to their own religion. 

25. But how (will they fare) 

When We gather them together 
Against a Day about which 
There is no doubt. 

And each soul will be paid out 
Just what it has earned. 

Without (favour or) injustice? 

26. Say: “O Allah! 

Lord of Power {and Rule), 
Thou give st Power 
To whom Thou pleasesl, 

And Thou strippest off Power 
From whom Thou pleuscst: 
Thou enduest with honour 
Whom Thou pleasesu 
And Thou b Hugest low 
Whom Thou pleasest: 

In Thy hand is all Good.' 
Verily, over all things 
Thou hast power. 

27. "Thou causest the Night 
To gain on the Day. 






People of the Book should have been the first to welcome in Muhammad the living 
exponent of the Message of Allah as a whole, and some of them did so: but others turned 
away from guilty arrogance, relying on corrupted texts and doctrines forged out of their 
own fancies, though they were not conformable to reason and good sense, 

368. Cf. O, ii. 80. 

369, Another glorious Passage, full of meaning. The governing phrase in it all is: “In 
Thy hand is ail Good." What is the standard by which we may judge Good? It is Allah's 
Will. Therefore when we submit to Allah's Will, and real Islam illuminates us. we see 
the highest Good, There has been and is much controversy as to what is the Highest 
Good, To the Muslim there is no difficulty: it is the Will of Allah. He must ever strive 
to learn and understand that Will, Pul once in that fortress, he is secure. He is not 
troubled with the nature of evil 





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- 147 - 

S. 3 A. 27-28 

J. 3 dJliJW/U 

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And Thou causes! the Day 
To gain on the Night; 374 
Thou bringest the Living 
Out of the Dead. 

Anil Thou bringest the Dead 
Out of the Living; 371 
And Thou gives! sustenance 
To whom Thou pleascsL 
Without measure," 372 

28, Let not the Believers 

Take for friends or helpers 
Unbelievers rather than 
Believers: if any do that, 

Shah have no relation 
Left with Allah except by way 
Of precaution! that ye may 
Guard yourselves from them/' 73 
But Allah cautions you 
(To fear) Himself: 

„ -tr/ 

o/, & rojt 

>K * f Z* „ A * -'i - 

370* true in many senses. In every twenty-four hours, night merges into day* and 
day into night, and there is no clear houndary between them. In every solar year, the 
night gains on the day after the summer solstice, and the day gains cm the night after 
the winter solstice, but further, if light and darkness are viewed as symbols of (a) 
knowledge and ignorance, (b) happiness and misery, (cj spiritual insight and spiritual 
blindness, Allah's Plan or Will works here too as in the physical world, and in His hand 
is all Good. 

37 1. We can interpret Dead and hiving in even more senses than Day and Night: death 
physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual. Life and Death may also apply lo collective, 
group, or national life. And who has ever solved the mystery of Life? Bui Fai(h refers 
it to Allah's Will and Plan. 

372. Again true in all the senses suggested in the two previous notes. The only 
Eternal Reality is Allah, Ah else has its basis and sustenance from Him. Lest our little 
minds create fear out of "nicely calculated less or more", we are told at once that Allah's 
bounty is without measure or account. 

373- If f aith is a fundamental matter in our lives aur associations and friendships will 
naturally be with those who share our Faith. “Evil communications corrupt good 
manners": and evil company may corrupt Faith* In our ordinary every-day affairs of 
business, we are asked to seek the help of Believers rather than Unbelievers. Only in 
this way can our community be strong in organisation and unity. But where there is no 
question of preference, or where in self-defence we have to Lake the assistance of those 
not belonging to our Faith, that is permissible. In any case we must not weaken our 
Brotherhood: we must try to make it stronger if possible. 

- 148 - 

S3 A. 28-33 

J. 3 *^L-l 

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For ihe final goal 
Is to Allali. 

29, Say: "Whether ye hide 
What is in your hearts 
Or reveal it, 

Allah knows it all: 

He knows what is 
In the heavens. 

And what is on earth. 

And Allah has power 
Over all tilings, 

311 “On the Day when every soul 
Will be confronted 
With all tlie good it has done, 
And all the evil it has done. 

It will wish there were 
A great distance 
Between it and ils evil. 

But Allah cautions you 
(To fear) Him 

And Allah is full of kindness 
To those that serve Him/' 


31. Say: "If ye do love Allah, 
Follow me: Allah will love you 
And forgive you your sins: 

For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, 

Most Merciful/' 

32. Say: "Obey Allah 
And His Messenger"; 

But if they turn back, 

Allah loveth not those 
Who reject Faith. 

33. Allah did choose 

Adam and Noah, the family 
Of Abraham, and the family 
Of ‘Imran above all people,- 

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S.3 A. 34-36 J. 3 eJl^l *jsU r 0^ Jl iy- 

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Offspring, one of the other:' 
And Allah hcarclh 
And k nowet h all l kings. 

Behold! wife of * Imran - ' 0 
Said: “O my Lord! I do 
Dedicate into Thee 
What is in my womb 
For Thy special service:' h 
So accept this of me: 

For Thou hearest 
And k nowest all things." 

When she was delivered, 

She said: m O my Lord! 
Behold! I am delivered 
Of a female child F’- 
And Allah knew best 
What she brought forth- 377 
‘‘And is not the male 

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374. Use Prophets in the Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dispensation form one family literally. 
But the argument is wider. All men of faith form one family. If you love and obey Allah, 
love and obey Mis Messenger: your love, obedience and discipline will be the test of your 

37,S, Now we begin the story of Jesus. As a prelude we have the birth of Mary' and 
the parallel story of John the Baptist, Yuliya the son of Zakariya. Yuliya’s mother 
Elisabeth was a cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke L 36), and therefore John 
and Jesus were cousins by blood, and there was a spiritual cousin hood in their birth and 
career. Elisabeth was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke L 5), of a priestly family which 
went back to Aaron the brother of Moses and son of ‘Imran, Her husband Zakariya 
was actually a priest, and her cousin Mary was presumably also of a priestly family. By 
tradition Mary's mother was called Hannah (in Latin, Anna, and in English, Anne), and 
her father was called 1 Imran. Hannah is therefore both a descendant of the priestly house 
of Imran and the wife of ‘Imran, -“a woman of 'Imran” in a double sense. 

376, Muharmr = freed from alt worldly affairs and specially dedicated to Allah’s 
sen r ice. She expected a son, who was to be a special devotee, it miraculous son of the 
old age of his parents, but Allah gave her instead a daughter. But that daughter was Mary 
the mother of Jesus, the chosen one among the women: Hi. 42. 

377, The mother of Mary expected a male child. Was she disappointed that it was 
a female child? No. for she had Faith, and she knew that A Half s Plan was better than 
any wishes of hers, Mary was no ordinary girl: only Allah knew what it was that her 
mother brought forth. 


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S3 A. 36-38 


Like the female. 378 
f have named her Mary, 

And I commend her 
And her offspring 
To Thy protection 
From Satan 
The Rejected/’ 

37. Right graciously 

Did her Lord accept her: 

1 le made her grow 
In purity and beauty: 

To the care of ZakarTya 
Was she assigned. 

Every time that he entered 
(Her) chamber to see her, 

He found her supplied 
With sustenance. He said: 

“O Mary! Whence (comes) this 
To you?” She said: 

“From Allah: for Allah 
Provides sustenance 
To whom He pleases, 

Without measure. 3 ™ 

38. There did ZakarTya 
Pray to his Lord! saying: 

‘O my Lord! Grant unto me 
From Thee a progeny 

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378. The female child could not he devoted to Temple service under the Mosaic law, 
as she intended. But she was marked out for a special destiny as a miracle-child, to be 
the mother of the miracle-child Jesus. She was content to seek Allah's protection for her 
against all evil. There is a certain sense of pride in (he girl on the part of the mother. 

379, Mary grew under Allah’s special protection. Her sustenance, under which we 
may include both her physical needs and her spiritual food, came from Allah, and her 
growth was indeed a "goodly growth” which l have tried to express in the Text by the 
words ' purity and beauty'*. Some aprocryphal Christian writings say that she was brought 
up in the Temple to the age of twelve like a dove, and that she was fed by angels. 

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- 151 - 

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Thill is pure: for Thou 
Art He that heard li prayer 

39. While he was standing 
In prayer in the chamber. 
The angels called unto him: 
“Allah doth give thee 
Glad tidings of Yuliya, 
Confirming the truth 
Of a Word from Allah, 
Besides) noble, chaste. 

And a Prophet - 
Of the (goodly) company 
Of the righteous/ 1 

1 le said: “0 my Lord! 

How shall I have a son, 
Seeing I am very old. 

And my wife is barren?*' 
“Thus,*' was the answer, 
“Doth Allah accomplish 
What He willelh/* 

He said: “O my Lord! 

Give me a Sign!’* 

“Thy Sign/' was the answer, 
“Shall be that thou 
Shah speak to no man 
For three days 
Bui with signals. 

Then celebrate 
The praises of thy Lord 
Again and again. 

and (be 


380. Thu birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus, of John the Baptist, the precursor of 
Jesus, and of Jesus, the prophet of Israel, whom Israel rejected, occurred in that order 
chronologically, and are told in that order. They are all inter-connected Zakartya prayed 
tor no ordinary’ sun. He and Iiis wife were past the age of parenthood. Seeing Ihe growth 
of Mary, he prayed for some child from Allah,- “from Thee, a progeny (hat is pure”. 
To his surprise, he is given a son in the flesh, ushered in by a special Sign. 

381. Notice: “u Word from Allah", not “r/rr Word of Allah", the epithet that 
mystical Christianity uses for Jesus, As stated in iii. 59 below. Jesus was created by a 
miracle, by Allah's word 'Tie 1 '* and he was. 

- 152 - 

S.3 A. 4 1-44 

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And glorify Him 
In the evening 
And in the morning,” 


42, Behold! the angels said: 

“O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee 
And purified thce-chosen thee 
Above the women of all nations. 582 

43, ”0 Mary! worship 
The Lord devoutly: 

Prostrate thyself. 

And bow down (in prayer) 

With those who bow down." 

44, This is part of the tidings 
Of the things unseen, 583 
Which We reveal unto thee 
(O Prophet!) by inspiration: 

Thou wasi not with them 
When they cast lots 

With pens, 384 as to which 
Of them should be charged 
With the care of Mary: 

Nor wast thou with them 
When they disputed (the point), 385 

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382. Mary the mother of Jesus was unique, in that she gave birth to a son by a 
special miracle, without the intervention of the customary physical means. This of course 
does not mean that she was more than human, any more than that her son was more 
than human. She had ns much need to pray to Allah as anyone else. The Christian 
dogma, in all sects except the Unitarian, holds that Jesus was Allah and the son of Allah. 
The worship of Mary became the practice in the Roman Catholic Church, which calls Mary 
the Mother of Allah. This seems to have been endorsed by the Council of Ephesus in 
431, in the century before Muhammad was bom n> sweep away the corruptions of the 
C hurch of Christ. For 'dtarmn as meaning all nations, see iii. % f n, 423, 

383. Things unseen: belong to a realm beyond the reach of human perception and 
therefore it would be unseemly to dispute or speculate about them, 

384. Aqlttm. For the Arab custom of casting tots with arrows, see ii. 219, n. 241. 

385. Christian apocryphal writings mention the contention between the priests as to 
the honour of taking charge of Mary, and how it was decided by means of rods or reeds 
in favour of Zakanya. 

^ 1 


- 153 * 

S.3 A. 45-49 

J. 3 

45. Be hold! the angels said: 

"O Mary! Allah giveth thee 
Glad tidings of a Word 
From Him: his name 
Will be Christ Jesus , m 
The son of Mary, held in honour 
In this world and the Hereafter 
And of (the company of) those 
Nearest to Allah; 387 

S, "He shall speak to the people 
In childhood and in maturity. 3 *^ 
And he shall be (of the company) 
Of the righteous.” 

47. She said: "G my Lord! 3 * 9 
How shall I have a son 
When no man hath touched me?” 
He said: "Even so; 

Allah createih 
What He willeth: 

When He hath decreed 
A matter. He hut saith 
To it, l Bc,' and it is! 

48. "And Allah will teach him 
The Book and Wisdom, 

The Torah and the Gospel, 

49. "And (appoint him) 

A messenger to the Children 
Of Israel, (with this message): 

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380. CVimr; Greek, Christos = anointed: kings and priests were anointed to symbolise 
consecration to their office. The Hebrew and Arabic form is MasTh. 

387. Nearest to Allah: Muqarrabin, Cf. 0. Ivi. LI. 

388. The ministry of Jesus lasted only about three years, from 31} to 33 years of his 
age, when in the eyes of his enemies he was crucified. But the Gospel of Luke (ii, 4h) 
describes him as disputing with the doctors in the Temple at the age of 12, and even 
earlier, as a child, he was “strong in spirit, II lied with wisdom'* (Luke ii. 40). Some 
apocryphal Gospels describe him as preaching from infancy. 

3S9. She was addressed by angels, who gave her Allah's message. In reply she speaks 
as to Allah. In reply, apparently an angel again gives Allah*s message. 


- 154 - 

S.3 A.49-51 

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*i have come to you. 

With a Sign from your Lord, 

In that I make for you 
Out of clay, as it were. 

The figure of a bird, 

And breathe into it. 

And it becomes a bird 
By Allah’s leave: 390 
And I heal those 
Born blind, and the lepers. 

And I bring the dead imo life 
By Allah's leave; 

And I declare to you 

What yc eat, and what ye store 1,1 

In your houses. Surely 

Therein is a Sign for you 

If ye did believe; 

50. *■ *(I have come to you). 

To attest the Torah 
Which was before me. 

And to make lawful 
To you pari of what was 
(Before) forbidden to you; 

I have come to you 

With a Sign from your Lord. 

So fear Allah, 

And obey me, 

5L « ‘It is Allah 
Who is my Lord 
And your Lord: 

Then worship Him. 

This is a Way 
Thai is straight." 1 

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390. This miracle of the day birds is found in some of the apocryphal Gospels; those 
of curing the blind and the lepers and raising ihe dead arc in the canonical Gospels. The 
original Gospel (sec in 48) was not the various stories written afterwards by disciples, 
but the real Message taught direct by Jesus. 

39 U This clause refers generally to a prophetic knowledge of what is not known to 
other people. 

- 155 * 

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52. When Jesus found 
Unbelief on their part 
He said: “Who will be 
My helpers to (the work 

Of) Allah? Said the Disciples: 
“We are Allah’s helpers 
We believe in Allah, 

And do thou bear witness 
That we are Muslims/' 

53. “Our Lord! we believe 

In what Thou hast revealed. 
And we follow the Messenger; 
Then write us down 
Among those who bear witness. 

54. And (the unbelievers) 

Plotted and planned. 

And Allah too planned, 1 '" 

And the best of planners 
Is Allah, 


55. Behold! Allah said: 

“O Jesus! 1 will take thee 394 
And raise thee to Myself 

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392, Thu story of Jesus is told with special application to the time of the Prophet 
Muhammad. Note the word helpers (Ansar) in this connection, and the reference to 
plotters in iii. 54. It was the one Rcligion-thc Religion of Allah, which was in essence 
the religion of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. The argument runs: who do ye then now 
make divisions and reject the living Teacher? Islam is: bowing to the Will of Allah. All 
who have faith should bow to the Will of Allah and be Muslims. 

393, The Arabic Makar a has both a bad and a good meaning, that of making an 
intricate plan to carry out some secret purpose. The enemies of Allah are constantly doing 
that. Bui Aliah-in whose hands is all good-has His plans also, against which the evil ones 
will have no chance whatever. 

394, Read this with iv. 157, where it is said that "whereas they slew him not nor 
they crucified him but it was made dubious unto them. The guilt of the Jews remained, 
but Jesus was eventually taken up to Allah, 

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And clear thee (of the falsehoods) 395 
Of those who blaspheme; 
i will make those 
Who follow thee superior'^ 

To those who reject faith % 

To the Day of Resurrection: 

Then shall ye all 
Return unto me. 

And ] will judge 
Between you of the matters 
Wherein ye dispute/ 197 

56. “As to those who reject faith, 

I will punish them 

With severe chastisement 
In this world and in the Hereafter 
Nor will they have 
Anyone to help. 

57. "As to those who believe 
And work righteousness, 

Allah will pay them (in full) 

Their reward; 

But Allah loveth not 
Those who do wrong. 

58. 'This is what we rehearse 
Unto thee of the Signs 
And the Message 

Of Wisdom.’ 1 

Sg v 

( X' * f 

395, Jesus was charged by the Jews with blasphemy as claiming U> be Allah or the 
son of Allah. The Christians (except a few early sects which were annihilated by 
persecution, and the modern sect of Unitarians), adopted the substance of the claim, and 
made it the cornerstone of their faith. Allah dears Jesus of such a charge or claim. 

396. Those who fallow thee refers to those w ho followed Jesus in contrast to the Jews 
who rejected him. 

- 157 - 

S.3 A. 59-61 

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59. The similitude of Jesus 

Before Allah is as that of Adam: 
He created him from dust. 

Then said to him: “Be": 

And he was. 

60. The Truth {comes) 

From thy Lord alone; 

So he not of those 
Who doubt 31 ” 

61. If any one disputes 

In this matter with thee. 

Now- after (full) knowledge 
Hath come to thee, 

Say: “Come! let us 

Gather together 

Our sons and your sons. 

Our women and your women. 
Ourselves and yourselves: 

Then let us earnestly pray. 

And invoke the curse 
Of Allah on those who lie! 4 *® 


398* After a description of the high position which Jesus occupies as a prophet, we 
have a repudiation of the dogma that he was Allah, or the son of Allah, or anything 
more than a man. If it is said that he was born without a human father. Adam was also 
so horn. Indeed Adam wav born without either a human father or mother. As far as our 
physical bodies are concerned they are mere dust, In Allah's sight Jesus was as dust just 
as Adam was or humanity is. The greatness of Jesus arose from the divine command 
“Be”: for after that he was- mo re than dust - a great Prophet and teacher. 

399. The truth does not necessarily come from priests, or from the superstitions of 
whole peoples* It comes from Allah, and where there is a direct revelation, there is no 
room for doubt. 

41X). tn the year of Deputations, l Oth of the Hijra, came a Christian embassy from 
Najrart (towards Yaman, about 150 miles north of Sana'a). They were much impressed 
on hearing this passage of the Gur-ftn explaining the true position of Christ, and they 
entered into tributary relations with the new Muslim State. But ingrained habits and 
customs prevented them from accepting Islam as a body* The Holy Prophet, firm in his 
faith* proposed a Mitlfdhala, a solemn meeting, in which both sides should summon 
not only their men. but their women and children, earnestly pray to Allah, and invoke 
the curse of Allah on those who should lie. Those who had a pure and sincere faith would 
not hesitate. The Christians declined, and they were dismissed in a spirit of tolerance with 
a promise of protection from the State in return for tribute. 

- 158 - 

S.3 A, 62*64 

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This is the true account: 40 
There is no god 
Except Allah; 

And Allah-He is indeed 
The Exalted in Power, 

The Wise. 

Bui if they turn hack. 
Allah hath full knowledge 
Of those who do mischief. 


Say: **0 People 
Of the Book! come 
To common terms 
As between us and you: 
That we worship 
None but Allah; 

That we associate 
No partners with Him; 
Thai we erect not, 

From among ourselves. 
Lords and patrons 
Oiher than Allah." 402 


* * * " “ 

'C 't • I 4/1 J } s * ' + 

40 L We are now in a position fo deal with the questions which w f e left over at ii. 
H7. Jesus is no more than a man. It is against reason and revelation to call him Allah 
or the son of Allah, He is called the son of Slary to emphasize this, Ife had no human 
father, as his birth was miraculous. But it is not this which raise him to his high position 
as a prophet, but because Allah called him to his office. The praise is due to Allah, Who 
by His word gave him spiritual strength -"strengthened him with the Holy spirit. The 
miracles which surround his story relate not only to the "Clear Signs" which he brought. 
It was those who misunderstood him who obscured his clear Signs and surrounded him 
with mysteries of their own invention, 

402. In the abstract the People of the Book would agree to all three propositions, 
tn practice they fail. Apart from doctrinal lapses from the unity of the One True God, 
there is the question of a consecrated Priesthood (among the Jews it was hereditary also), 
as if a mere human being-Cohen. or Pope, or Priest, or Brahman,- -could claim superiority 
apart from his learning and the purity of his life, or could stand between man and Allah 
in some special sense. The same remarks apply to the worship of saints. They may he pure 
and sincere, but no one can protect us or claim Lordship over us except Allah, For Rahb t 
sec i. 2. n, Abraham was a true Prophet of Allah, but he could not be called a Jew r 
or a Christian as he lived long before the Law of Moses or the Gospel of Jesus was 

SJ A, 64-68 

j.3 cJisn 

If (lien they turn buck. 

Say ye: “Bear witness 
That we (at least) 

Are Muslims {bowing 
To Allah's Will)" 

65. Ye People of the Book! 

Why dispute ye 

About Abraham, 

When the Torah and the Gospel 
Were not revealed 
Till after him? 

Have ye no understanding? 

66. Ah! Ye are those 
Who fell to disputing 
(Even) in matters of which 
Ye had some Knowledge! 403 
But why dispute yc 

In matters of which 
Ye have no knowledge? 

It is Allah Who knows* 

And ye who know not! 

67. Abraham was not a lew 
Nor yet a Christian; 

But he was Upright, 

And bowed his will to Allah’s, 
(Which is Islam). 

And he joined not gods with Allah. 4 

68. Without doubt, among men. 

The nearest of kin to Abraham, 
Arc those who follow him. 

As are also this Prophet 
And those who believe: 


U i jtes 

403. The number of sects among the Jews and Christians shows that they wrangled 
ami disputed even about some of the matters of their own religion, of which they should 
have had some knowledge But when they talk of Father Abraham, they are entirely out 
of court, as be lived before their peculiar systems were evolved. 

404. CX b. 135 and the whole argument in that passage. 

- 160 - 

$3 A. 68-72 

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And Allah is the Protector 
Of those who have faith. 

69. It is tiie wish of a section 
Of the People of the Book 
To lead you astray* 

Bui they shall lead astray 
(Not you), but themselves. 
And they do not perceive! 

70. Ye People of the Book! 

Why reject ye 

The Signs of Allah, 

Of which ye are 
( Yourselves) witnesses? 

7L Ye People of the Book! 

Why do ye clothe 
Truth with falsehood, 

And conceal the Truth, 

While ye have knowledge? 4 * 15 


72, A section of the People 
Of the Book say: 

“Believe in the morning 44 * 
What is revealed 
To the Believers, 

Hut reject it at the end 
Of the day: perchance 
They may (themselves) 

Turn back; 

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405. There are many ways of preventing the access of people to the truth. One is 
to temper with it, or trick it out in colours of falsehood: helf- truths are often more dangerous 
than obvious falsehoods. Another is to conceal it altogether. Those who are jealous of 
a prophet of Allah, whom they actually see before them, do not allow Ids credentials 
or virtues to be known, or vilify him, or conceal facts which would attract people to him. 
When people do this of set purpose, against their own light (“of which ye are yourselves 
witnesses' 1 ), they are descending to the lowest depths of degradation, and they are doing 
more harm to themselves than to anyone else, 

406. Wajh here has the sense of “beginning", early part. The cynics who plotted 
against Islam actually asked their accomplice to join the believers and then repudiate 

- 161 - 

S3 A. 73-75 


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73. “And believe no one 
Unless he follows 
Your religion." 

Say: “True guidance 
Is the guidance of Allah: 

(Fear ye) lest a revelation 407 
Be sent to someone (else) 

Like unto that which was sent 
Unto you? Or that those 
(Receiving such revelation) 

Should engage you in argument 
Before your Lord? 408 
Say: “All bounties 
Are in the hand of Allah: 

He granteth them 
To whom He plcaseth: 

And Allah caret h for all. 

And 1 le knovveth all things." 

74. For 1 1 is Mercy 1 le specially chooseth 
Whom lie plcaseth: 

For Allah is the Lord 
Of bounties unbounded 

75. Among the People of the Book 
Are some who, if entrusted 
With a hoard of gold, 4iW 

Will (readily) pay it back; 

Others, who, if entrusted 
With a single silver coin, 4115 

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407. The two clauses following have been variously construed, anti some translations 
leave the sense ambiguous, I have construed die conjunction "an f * to mean ’lest”, as it 
undoubtedly does in vii. 172. ‘an taqtiltV\ etc. 

4t)8, Cf. ii. 76. The People of the Hook were doubly annoyed at the Muslims: (1) that 
they should (being outside their ranks) receive Allah’s revelations, and (2) that having 
received such revelations, they should be able to convict them out of their own scriptures 
before their Lord. 

4U 4 > r Hoard of gold: qintar: a talent of 1,200 ounces of gold. See iii, 14. n. 354. 

410. Silver coin : dinar, (n the later Roman Empire, the denarius was a small silver 
coin. It must have been current in Syria and the markets of Arabia in the time of the 
Prophet. It was the coin whose name is translated in the English Bible by the word penny. 

* 162 * 

i. 3 

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Will not repay it unless 
Thou constantly stoodesi 
Demanding, because. 

They say: “there is no way 

Over us as to the 

Unlettered people/' 411 

But they tell a lie against Allah , 

And (well) they know it, 

76. Nay,-Those that keep 
Their plighted faith 
And act aright— verily 
Allah loves those 
Who act aright. 

77. As for those who sell 

The faith they owe to Allah 

And their own solemn plighted word 

For a small price, 412 

They shall have no portion 

In the Hereafter: 

Nor will Allah 

(Deign to) speak to them 

Or look at them 

On the Day of Judgment, 

Nor will He cleanse them 413 

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Matt. xxit. 19: hence the abbreviation of penny is d {- denarius). The later Arabian coin 
dinar coined by the Umaiyads, was a gold coin after the pattern of the Byzantine 
( Roman) denarius aureus and weighed about 66349 grains troy, just a I it lie more than 
a half-sovereign. 

411. Every race imbued with race arrogance resorts to lliis kind of moral or religious 
subterfuge. Even if its members arc usually honest or just among themselves, they are 
contemptuous of those outside their circle, and cheat and deceive them without any 
qualms of conscience. This is a "lie against Allah.'* 

412. All our duties to our fellow creatures are referred to the service and faith we 
owe to Allah, But in the matter of truth an appeal is made to our self-respect as 
responsible beings: is it becoming that we should be false to our own word, to ourselves? 
And then we arc reminded that the utmost we can gain by falsifying Allah's word or 
being untrue to ourselves is but a miserable price. We get at best something very paltry 
as the price for selling our very souls. 

413. Even on sinners-ordinary sinners-Allah will look with compassion and mercy: 
lie will speak words of kindness mid cleanse them of their sins. But those who arc in 
active rebellion against Allah and sin against their own light, -what mercy can they expect? 

- 163 - 

SJ A. 77-8(1 


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{Of sin): they shall have 
A grievous Chastise mem, 

There is among them 
A section who distort 
The Book with their tongues; 

(As they read) so that you would think 
It is a part of the Book. 

Bui il is no part 
Of the Book; and they say* 

“That is from Allah," 

Hut it is not from Allah: 

It is they who tell 
A lie against Allah, 

And (well) they know it! 

It is not (possible) 

That a man, to whom 
Is given the Book. 

And Wisdom. 

And the Prophetic Office, 

Should say to people: 

"Be ye my worshippers 
Kather than Allahy*: 414 
On the contrary 
(Me would say): 

"Be ye worshippers 
Of Him (Who is truly 
The Cherishcr of all) 

For ye have taught 
The Book and ye 
Have studied ii earnestly," 



Nor would he instruct you 
To take angels and prophets 
For Lords and Patrons,. 
What! would he hid you 


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414. It is not in reason or in ihe nature of tilings that Allah's messenger should 
preach against Allah, Jesus came to preach and convey the* true message of Allah. 

415. Jesus was a prophet, and the Holy Spirit M with which he was strengthened" was 
the Angel who brought the revelations to him. 

- 164 - 

S.3 A. 80-83 

J. 3 

T Jl 

To unbelief after ye have 
Bowed your will 
(To Allah in Islam)? 


81. Behold! Allah look 

The Covenant of the Prophets/ 16 
Saying: “I give you 
A Book and Wisdom: 

Then comes to you 
A Messenger* confirming 
What is with you; 

Do ye believe in liim 
And render* him help." 

Allah said: “Do ye agree* 

And take this my Covenant 
As binding on you?" 

They said: "We agree." 

Me said: "Then bear witness* 

And I am with you 
Among the witnesses." 

82. If any turn back 
After this* they are 
Perverted transgressors. 

83. Do they seek 

For other than the Religion 

f * \K Y1 < * 

■116. CjlT ii. 63, n. 78, The argument is: You (People of t lit: Book) are hound by 
your own oaths, sworn solemnly in the presence of your own Prophets. In the Old 
Testament as it now exists, Muhammad is foretold in Deut. xviiL 18: and the rise of the 
Arab nation in 1 stall, xlii. II. for Kedar was a son of Isma'il and the name is used for 
l he Arab nation: in the New Testament as it now exists. Muhammad is foretold in the 
Gospel of St, John xiv. 16, xv. 26, and xvL 7: the future Comforter cannot be the Holy 
Spirit us understood by Christians* because the Holy Spirit already was present* helping 
and guiding Jesus. The Greek word translated “Comforter" is “Paruclctos"* which is an 
easy corruption from "Periclytos", which is almost a literal translation of “Muhammad" 
or “Ahmad": see Q IxL 6. Further, there were other Gospels that have perished* hut 
of which traces siil] remain, which were even more specific in their reference to 
Muhammad; e.g., the Gospel of St. Barnabas, of which an Italian translation is extant 
in the State Library at Vienna. It was edited in 1907 with an English translation by Mr 
Lonsdale and Laura Rage 

- 165 - 

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Of Allah?-while all creatures 
In the heavens and on earth 
Have, willing or unwilling , 4 
Bowed to His Will 
(Accepted Islam). 

And to Him shall they 
All be brought back, 

84. Say: “We believe 

In Allah, and in what 
Has been revealed to us 
And what was revealed 
To Abraham, Ismail; 

Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, 

And in (the Books) 

Given to Moses, Jesus, 

And the Prophets, 

From their Lord: 

We make no distinction 
Between one and another 
Among them, and to Allah do we 
Bow our will (in Islam)." 

85. If anyone desires 

A religion other than 
Islam (submission to Allah) 41 * 
Never will it be accepted 

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417. Allah's Truth is manifest, and all that is good and true and sane and normal 
accepts it with joy. Bui even where there is “disease in the heart" (0 ii- 10), or judgment 
is obscured by perversity, every creature must eventually see and acknowledge Allah and 
His power (ii. If>7). Cf. R. Bridges: “Testament of Beauty”: iv. 14 19-22; -"For God's love 
is unes capable as nature's environment, which if a man ignore or think to thrust it off, 
he is the ill-natured fool that runneth blindly on death." All Nature adores Allah, and 
Islam asks for nothing peculiar or sectarian; it but asks that we follow our nature and 
make our will conformable to Allah's Will as seen in Nature, history, and revelation. Its 
message is universal. 

418. The Muslim position is dear. The Muslim does not claim io have a religion 
peculiar to himself, Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. In its view all Religion is 
one, for the Truth is one. It was the religion preached by all the earlier Prophets. It 
was the truth taught by all the inspired Books. In essence it amounts to a consciousness 
of the Will and Plan of Allah and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan, If any one 
wants a religion other than that, he is false to his own nature, as he is false to Allah’s 
Will and Plan. Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced 

- 166 - 

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Of him; and in the Hereafter 
lie will he in the ranks 
Of those who have lost* 

How shall Allah 

Guide those who reject 

Faith after they accepted it 

And bore witness 

That the Messenger was true 

And that Clear Signs 

Had come unto them? 

But Allah guides not 
A people unjust. 

Of such the reward 
Is that on them (rests) 

The curse of Allah, 

Of His angels. 

And of all mankind;- 

In that will they dwell; 

Nor will their punishment 
Be lightened, nor respite 
Be their (Im):- 4,HA 

Except for those that repent 
(Even) after that. 

And make amends; 

For verily Allah 
Is Oft -Forgiving, 

Most Merciful. 

But those who reject 
Faith after they accepted it. 
And then go on adding 
To their defiance of Faith,- 
Never will their repentance 
Be accepted: for they 
Are those who have 
Gone astray. 

4 IH- A. Cf. ii. Hit -62* 

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- 167 - 

S.3 A.91-93 

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91. As to those who reject 
Fatih, and die rejecting,- 
Never would be accepted 
From any such as much 
Gold as the earth contains, 

Though they should offer it 
For ransom. For such 

Is (in store) a chastisement grievous 
And they will find no helpers, 


92. By no means shall ye 
Attain righteousness unless 
Ye give (freely) of that 419 
Which yo love: and whatever 
Ye give, 

Allah knoweth it well 

93. All food was lawful 

To the Children of Israel, 

Except what Israel 4211 
Made unlawful for himself 
Before the Torah 
Was revealed. Say: 

“Bring ye the Torah 
And study it. 

If ye he men of truth. " 


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41 9. [ lie test of charity is: do you give something that you value greatly, something 
that you love? If you give your life in a Cause, that is the greatest gifi you can give. 
If you give yourself, that is, your personal efforts, your talents, your skill, your learning, 
that conies next in degree. If you give your earnings, your properly, your possessions, 
tiial is also a great gift; for many people love them even more tlum other things. And 
there are less tangible things, such as position, reputation, the well-being of those we love, 
the regard of those who can help us, etc. It is unselfishness that Allah demands, and 
there is no act of unselfishness, however small or intangible, hut is well within the 
knowledge of Allah, 

420. The Arabs ate the flesh of the camel, which is lawful in Islam, but it was 
prohibited by the Jewish Law of Moses (Leviticus xi, 4). But that Law was very strict 
became of the "hardness of heart" of Israel, because of Israel s insolence and iniquity 
(Q. vi. 14ft). Before it was promulgated Israel was free In choose its own food. 

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- 168 * 

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94. If any, after ibis, invent 
A lie anti attribute ii 

To Allah, they are indeed 
Unjust wrong-doers. 

95. Say: "Allah speaketh 
The Truth: follow 

The religion of Abraham, 

The sane m faith: he 
Was not of the Pagans/* 421 

96. The first House (of worship) 
Appointed for men 

Was that at Rakka: 422 
Full of blessing 
And of guidance 
For all the worlds'! 23 

97. In it are Signs 

The Station of Abraham; 424 
Whoever enters it 
Attains security; 425 
Pilgrimage thereto is a duty 
Men owe to Allah,-* 

Those who can afford 
The journey; but if any 
Deny faith. Allah stands not 
In need of any of His creatures. 

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42L The greater freedom of Islam in the matter of the ceremonial law, compared 
with the Mosaic Law, is not a reproach hut a recommendation. We go hack to an older 
source than Judaism, -the institutions of Abraham. By common consent his Faith was 
sound, and he was certainly not a Pagan, a term contemptuously applied to the Arabs 
by the Jews. 

422. lUikka: same as Mukkah. perhaps an older name. The foundation of the Ka*ba 
goes hack to Abraham, 

423, * Alarum: all the worlds (i. 2. ii), all kinds of beings; all nations (iii. 42): all 
creatures (iii. 97). 

424, Station of Abraham: see ii 125 and a, 125. 

425. Sec reference in lust note. 

- 169 - 


J. 4 

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98. Say; “O People of the Book? 
Why reject ye the Signs 

Of Allah, when Allah 

Is Himself witness 

To all ye do?” 

99. Say: ”Q ye People of the Book! 
Why obstruct ye 

Those who believe. 

Prom the Path of Allah, 

Seeking to make it crooked, 

While ye were yourselves 
Witnesses (to Allah's Covenant)? 426 
But Allah is not unmindful 
Of all that ye do.” 

100. C) ye who believe! 
If ye listen 


To a faction 

Among the People of the Book, 
They would (indeed) 

Render you apostates 
After ye have believed! 

10 1. And how would ye 

Deny Faith while unto you 

Are rehearsed the Signs 
Of Allah, and among you 

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Jus jdil 3 

Lives the Messenger? 
Whoever holds 
Firmly to Allah 
Will be shown 
A Way that is straight. 




102. () ye who believe! 

Fear Allah as He should be 427 

-126. C/. iii. 81. 


427, t ear is of many kinds: (1) the abject fear of the coward; (2) the fear of a child 

or an inexperienced person in the face of an 

unknown danger; (.1) the fear of a reasonable 

man who wishes to avoid harm to himself or 

to people whom he wishes to protect; (4) the — P 




S.3 A. 102-104 

T jl a 

M 304, 

Feared, arid die not 
Except in □ state 
Of Islam. 

103, And hold fast, 

All together, by the Rope 4 
Which Allah (stretches out 
For you), and be not divided 
Among yourselves; 

And remember with gratitude 
Allah's favour on you; 

For ye were enemies 410 
And He joined your hearts 
In love, so that by His Grace* 
Ye became brethren; 

And ye were on the brink 
Of the Pit of Fire, 

And He saved you from it. 
Thus doth Allah make 
His Signs clear to you: 

That ye may be guided. 

Let there arise out of you 
A band of people 
Inviting to all that is good. 
Enjoining what is right* 


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reverence which is akin to love , for it fears to do anything which is not pleasing to the object 
of love. The first is unworthy of man; the second is necessary for one immature; the third 
is a manly precaution against evil as long as it is imeonquered; and die fourth is the seed- bed 
of righteousness* Those mature in faith cultivate the fourth: at earlier stages* the third or 
the second may he necessary; they arc fear, but not die fear of Allah, The first is a feeling 
of which anyone should be ashamed. 

428. Our whole being should be permeated with Islam: it is not a mere veneer or 
outward show. 

429. The simile is that of people struggling in deep water, to whom a benevolent 
Providence stretches out a strong and unbreakable rope of rescue* If all hold fast to it 
together, their mutual support adds to the chance of their safety. 

430. Yathrib was lorn with civil and tribal feuds and dissensions before the Messenger 
of Allah set his feel on its soil, After that* ii became the City of the Prophet, Mndinnh, 
and unmatched Brotherhood, and the pivot of Islam. This poor quarrelsome world is a larger 
Yathrib: can we establish the sacred feet on its soil, and make it a new and larger Madinah? 

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- 171 - 

SJ A. 104-107 

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Ami forbidding wha! is wrong: 
They arc the ones 
To attain felicity. 431 

105. Be not like those 
Who arc divided 
Amongst themselves 
And fall into disputations 
After receiving 

Clear Signs; 

For them 

is a dreadful Chastisement T - 

106. On the Day when 

Some faces will be (lit up 
With) white, and some faces 
Will be (in the gloom of) black: 41 " 
To those whose faces 
Will be black, (will be said): 

“Did ye reject Faith 
After accepting it? 

Taste then the Chastisement 
For rejecting Faith/* 

107. But those whose faces 
Will be (lit with) white, - 
They will be in (the light 
Of) Allah’s mercy: therein 
To dwell (for ever). 

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43! Siitflik. aflahu, faldh: the root idea is attainment of desires: happiness* in this 
world and the next; success; prosperity; freedom from anxiety, care, or ;t disturbed state 
of mmd;-the opposite of 'azab in the next verse, which includes: failure; misery; 
punishment or penalty; agony or anguish. 

The ideal Muslim community is happy, untroubled by conflicts or doubts, sure of 
itself, strong, united, and prosperous; because it invites to all that is good; enjoins the 
right: and forbids the wrong -a master-stroke of description in three clauses. 

432, The "face" (wajh) expresses our Personality, our inmost being. While h the 
colour of Light; to become white is to be illumined with Light, which stands for felicity, 
the rays of the glorious light of Allah. Black is the colour of darkness, sin, rebellion, 
misery; removal from the grace and light of Allah. These are the Signs of heaven and 
lie'll. The standard of decision in all questions is the justice of Allah, 

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These are ihe Signs 
Of Allah: We rehearse [hem 
To thee in Truth: 

And Allah means 
No injustice to any 
Of His creatures, 

109, To Allah belongs all 
Thai is in the heavens 
And earth: to Allah 
Do all matters 




1 10, Ye are the best 
Of Peoples, evolved 
For mankind. 

Enjoining what is right. 
Forbidding what is wrong, 

And believing in Allah/* 4 
If only the People of the Book 
Had faith, it were best 
For them: among them 
Are some who have faith. 

But most of them 

Are perverted transgressors. 

til. They will do you no harm. 
Barring a trifling annoyance: 

If they come out to fight you. 
They will show you their backs. 
And no help shall they get. 

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433. Cf. ii. 210. 

434. The logical conclusion to a Universal Religion is a non-sectarian, non-racial, 
non -doctrinal, religion, which Islam claims to he. For Islam is just submission to the Will 
of Allah. This implies (1) Faith, (2) doing right, being an example to others to do right, 
and having the power to see that the right prevails, (3) eschewing wrong, being an 
example to others to eschew wrong, and having the power to see that wrong and injustice 
are defeated. Islam therefore lives, not for itself, bui for man kind. The People of the 
Rook, if only they had faith, would he Muslims, for they have been prepared for Islam. 
Unfortunately there is Unfaith. hut it cart never harm those who carry the banner of Faith 
and Right, which must always be victorious. 

5 ? — 

- 173 - 

S3 A. 112*114 

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112. Shame is pitched over them 4 ' 5 
(Like a tent) wherever 

They arc found, 

Except when under a covenant 
(Of protection) from Allah 
And from men; they draw 
On themselves wrath from Allah. 
And pitched over them 
Is (the tent of) destitution. 

This because they rejected 
The Signs of Allah, and slew 
The Prophets in defiance of right* 436 
This because they rebelled 
And transgressed beyond bounds. 

113. Not all of them are alike: 

Of the People of the Book 
Are a portion that stand 
(For the right); they rehearse 
The Signs of Allah all night long. 
And they prostrate themselves 43 ' 

In adoration. 

114. They believe in Allah 
And the Last Day; 

They enjoin what is right. 

And forbid what is wrong; 

And they hasten (in emulation) 

In (all) good works: 

They arc in the ranks 
Of the righteous. 

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433. Dhuribtii. 1 think there is ;t simile from the pitching of a tent. Ordinarily a man's 
tent is a place of tranquillity and honour for him. The tent of the wicked wherever they 
arc found is ignominy, shame, mid humiliation. It is pity from Allah or from men that 
gives them protection when their pride has a fall Using the same simile of tent in another 
way, their home will he destitution and misery. 

436. Cf. lit. 2L n. 363. 

437, In Islam we respect sincere faith and true righteousness in accordance with the 
Durban and Sunnah. This verse, according 1 o Commentators, refers to those People of 
the Book who eventually embraced Islam. 


- 174 - 

S.3 A.11S-118 

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115. Of the good that they do. 

Nothing will be rejected 

Of them; for Allah knowcth well 
Those that do right, 

116. Th ose w ho re j e c 1 Fait h 
Neither their possessions 

Nor their (numerous) progeny 
Will avail them aught against Allah; 
They will be Companions 
Of the Fire, -dwelling 
Therein (for ever)/ 1 * 

117. What they spend 
In the life 

Of this (material) world 
May be likened to a Wind 
Which brings a nipping frost; 

U strikes and destroys the harvest 
Of men who have wronged 
Their own souls: it is not Allah 
That hath wronged them, but 
They wrong themselves, 4 ' 4 

1 IK. O ye who believe! 

Take not into your intimacy 
Those outside your ranks: 

They will not fail 
To corrupt you. They 

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438. Cf. iii. 10. 

439. False “spending" may be either in false “charily" or m having a “good time”. 
For the man who resists Allah's purpose, neither of them is any good. The essence of 
charity is faith and love. Where these are wanting, charity is no charity. Some baser 
motive is there: ostentation, or even worse, getting a person into the giver's power hy 
a pretence of charity, something that is connected with the life of this grasping, material 
world. What happens? You expect a good harvest. But “while you think, good easy man, 
full surely your greatness is a-ripening," there comes a nipping frost, and destroys afl your 
hopes. The frost is some calamity, or the fact that you are found out! Or perhaps it is 
"High blown pride,” as in Shakespeare's Henry VUl. ii. 3. In your despair you may Maine 
blind Fate or you may Name Allah! Blind Fate does not exist, for there is Allah's 
Providence, which is just and good. The harm or injustice has come, not from Allah, hut 
from your own soul. You wronged your soul, and it suffered the frost Your base motive 
brought you no good: it may have reduced you to poverty, shame, and disgrace. All the 
brave show of the wicked in this life is but a wind charged with evil to themselves. 

175 - 

S.3 A. 1 18-120 

Only desire for you to suffer: 
Rank hatred has already 
Appeared from their mouths: 
What their hearts conceal 
Is far worse. 

We have made plain 
To you the Signs, 

If ye have wisdom, 

119* Ah! ye are those 
Who love them. 

But they love you not - 
Though ye believe 
lu the whole of the Book, 440 
When ihey meet you, 

They say, “We believe”: 441 
But when they are alone, 
They bile off the very tips 
Of their fingers at you 
lu their rage. Say: 

“Perish in your rage; 

Allah knoweih well 

All the secrets of the heart.” 

120. If aught that is good 

Befalls you, it grieves them: 
But if some misfortune 
Overtakes you, they rejoice 
At it. But if ye are patient 
And do right. 

Not the least harm 
Will their cunning 
Do to you; for Allah 
Compasseth round about 
All that they do, 

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440. Islam gives you the complete revelation, "the whole of the Book/* though 
partial revelations have come in all ages, (Cf» til. 23, and n. 366). 

441. cy. ii, 14. 

- 176 - 


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121. (Remember that morning) 

Thou didst leave 
Thy household (early) 

To post the Faithful 
At their stations for battle: 442 
And Allah heareth 
And knoweth all things: 

122. Remember two of your parties 
M c d i t ate d co w a rd i ce ; 

But Allah was their protector. 
And in Allah should the Faithful 
(Ever) put their trust. 

, 44.1 

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442, The battle of Uhud was a great testing time for the young Muslim community. 
Their mettle and the wisdom and strength of their Leader were shown in the battle of 
Badr (jiL 13 and note), in which the Makkan Pagans suffered a crushing defeat. The 
Makkans were determined to wipe off their disgrace and to annihilate the Muslims in 
Madtnah. To this end they collected a large force and marched to Madinah, They 
numbered some 3,(HKI fighting men under Abu Sufyan, and they were so confident of 
victory that their w omen-folk came wit h them, and showed the most shameful savagery 
after the battle. To meet the threatened danger the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad Al- 
Mustafa, with his usual foresight, courage, and initiative, resolved to take his station at 
the foot of Mount Uhud, which dominates the city of Madtnah some three miles to the 
north. Early in the morning, on the 7th of ShawwaJ, A.H, 3 (January, 625), he made 
his dispositions for battle, Madinah winters are notoriously rigorous, but the warriors of 
Islam (700 to KMX) in number) were up early. A torrent bed was to i heir south, and 
the passes in the hills at their back were filled with 50 archers to prevent the enemy attack 
from the rear. The enemy were set the task of attacking the walls of Madinah. with the 
Muslims at their rear, hi the beginning the battle went well for the Muslims, The enemy 
wavered, but the Muslim archers, in disobedience of their orders, left their posts to join 
in the pursuit and share in the booty. There was also treachery on the part of the 300 
“Hypocrites” led by Abdullah ibn Ubai, who deserted. Tile enemy look advantage of the 
opening left by the archers, and there was severe hand-to-hand fighting, in which numbers 
told in favour of the enemy. Many of the Companions and Helpers were killed. But there 
was no rout. Among the Muslim martyrs was the gallant Hamza, a brother of the 
Prophet's father. Tile graves of the martyrs are still shown at Uhud. The Messenger 
himself was wounded in his head and face, and one of Ins front teeth was broken. Had 
it not been for his firmness, courage, and coolness, all would have been lost. As it was, 
the prophet, in spite of his wound, and many of the wounded Muslims, inspired by his 
example, returned to [he field next day, and Abu Sufyan and his Makkan army thought 
it most prudent to withdraw, Madinah was saved, but a lesson in faith, constancy, 
firmness, and steadfastness was learnt by the Muslims, 

443. The two parties wavering in their minds were probably the Banu Salma 
Khazraii and the Banu Harilha, hut they rallied under the Prophet's inspiration. That 
incident shows that man may he weak, but if he allows Ids weak will to he governed 
by the example of men of God, lie may yet retrieve his weakness. 

- 177 - 

S.3 A, 123-126 

V d\ j** cM 

Allah had helped you 
At Badr, when ye were 

Then fear Allah: thus 

May ve show your gratitude. 444 

124. Remember thou saidst 

To the Faithful: l is it not enough 
For you that Allah should help you 
With three thousand angels 
(Specially) sent down? 445 

125. ‘Yea,— if ye remain firm. 

And act aright, even if 

The enemy should rush here 
On you in hot haste, 

Your Lord would help you 
With five thousand angels 
Clearly marked 44 * 

126. Allah made it but a message 

Of hope for you, and an assurance 
To your hearts: (in any ease) 
There is no victory 
Rxcept from Allah, 

The Exalted, the Wise: 147 

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444, Gratitude to Allah is not to he measured by words. It should show itself in 
conduct and life. If alt the Muslims had learnt the true lesson from the victory at 
Badr, their archers would not have left the posts appointed for them, nor the two tribes 
mentioned in the last note ever wavered in their faith, 

445. Read verse 124 with the following five verses, to get its full signification. 

446, Muxawwim: this is the active voice of the verb, not to be confused with the 
passive voice in iiL 14, which has a different signification. 

447. Whatever happens, whether there is a miracle or not, all help proceeds from 
Allah. Man should not be so arrogant as to suppose that his own resources will change 
the current of the world plan, Allah helps those who show constancy T courage, and 
discipline, and use all the human means at their disposal, not those who fold their hands 
and have no faith. But Allah's help is determined on considerations exalted far above 
our petty human motive, and by perfect wisdoms, of which we can have only faint 

- 178 - 

S3 A. 127- 129 


'Phut He might cut off 
A fringe of the Unbelievers 
Or expose them to in fumy. 

And they should then 
Be uirned back. 

Frustrated of their purpose. 

Not for thee , (but for Allah), 
h the decision: 

Whether He turn in mercy 
To them, or punish them; 

For they are indeed wrong-doers, 444 

To Allah belonged) all 
That is in the heavens 
And on earth. 

He forgiveth whom lie pleaseth 
And punished) whom He pleaseth 
But Allah is Oft-Forgiving. 

Most Merciful. 

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448, A fringe of the Unbelievers: an extremity, an end, either upper or lower. Here 
1 1 may mean that the chiefs of the Makkati Pagans, who had come to exterminate the 
Muslims with such confidence, went hack frustrated in their purpose, the shameless 
cruelty with which they and their women mutilated the Muslim corpses on the battle-field 
will stand recorded in their eternal infamy Perhaps it also exposed their real nature to 
some nf those who fought for them, e.g., Khatid ihn Al-Wulid, who not only accepted 
Islam afterwards, hut became one of the most notable champions of Islam He was with 
the Muslims in the conquest of Makkah and later on, won distinguished honours in Syria 
and ‘Iraq. 

44 l F Uhud is as much a sign-post for Islam as Badr. For us in these latter days it 
carries an ever greater lesson. Allah's help will come if we have faith, obedience, 
discipline, unity, and the spirit of acting in righteousness and justice. If we fail, Ilis mercy 
is always open to us. Hut it is also open to our enemies, anti those who seem to us His 
enemies. His Plan may he to bring sinners to repentance, and to teach us righteousness 
and wisdom through those who seem in our eyes to be rebellious or even defiant. There 
may be good in them that He sees and we do not .-a humbling thought that must lead 
to our own self-examination and se I f- improvement . 

• ■ ■ • ' 

- 179 - 

S3 A J3IM34 

J. 4 

O ye who believe! 
Devour not Usury, 4 * 1 
Doubled and multiplied; 
But fear Allah; that 
Ye may (really) prosper. 



J 32, 

And fear the fire, which is prepared 
For those who reject Faith: 

And obey Allah 
And the Messenger; 

That ye may obtain mercy. 

Be quick in the race 
For forgiveness front your Lord 
And for a Garden whose width 
Is that (of the whole) 

Of the heavens 
And of the earth, 4 w 
Prepared for the righteous - 

Those who spend (freely), 453 
Whether in prosperity, 

Or in adversity; 

Who restrain anger. 

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450. Cf. ii. 275 and note. The last verse spoke of forgiveness, even to enemies. If 
such mercy is granted by Allah to erring sinners, how much more is it incumbent on us, 
poor sinners to refrain I nun oppressing our fellow-beings in need, in matters of mere 
material and ephemeral wealth? Usury is the opposite extreme of charity, unselfishness, 
striving, and giving of ourselves in the service of Allah and of our fellow-men, 

451. Real prosperity consists, nor in greed, hut in givtng,-thc giving of ourselves and 
of our substance in the cause of Allah and Allah’s truth and in the service of Allah's 

452. The Fire (ML 131) is, as always, contrasted with the Garden, -in other words. 
Hell contrasted with Heaven, we are told that its width alone is that of the whole of 
the heavens and the earth,- all the creation we can imagine. 

453. Another definition of the righteous (vv. 134-35), Ho far from grasping material 
wealth, they give freely, of themselves and rheir substance, not only when they are well- 
off and it is easy for them to do so, but also when they arc in difficulties . for other 
people may bo in difficulties at the same time. They do not get ruffled in adversity, or 
get angry when other people behave badly, or their own good plans fail. On the contrary 
they redouble their efforts . For the charity-or good deed-ts all the more necessary in 

- J80 * 

S.3 A. 134-137 

X Ji Sjj-- 

And pardon (all) mcn;- 
For Allah loves those 
Who do good:- 

135, And those who, 451 

1 laving done an act of indecency 

Or wronged their own souls, 455 

Remember Allah 

And ask for forgiveness 

For their sins,- 

And who can forgive 

Sins except Allah?- 

And are never obstinate 

In persisting knowingly 

In (the wrong) they have done. 

136. For such the reward 

Is forgiveness from their Lord, 
And Gardens with rivers 
Flowing underneath - 
An eternal dwelling: 

1 low excellent a recompense 
For those who work (and strive)! 

137 There have been examples 45 *' 

That have passed away 

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adversity. And they do not throw the blame on others. Even where such hi a me is due 
and correction is necessary, their own mind is free from a sense of grievance, for they 
lorgive and cover other men’s faults. This as far as other people are concerned, lint we 
may be ourselves at fault, and perhaps we brought some calamity on ourselves. The 
righteous man is not necessarily perfect. In such circumstances his behaviour is described 
in the next verse. 

454. The righteous man, when he finds he has fallen into sin or error, does not whine 
or despair, but asks for Allah’s forgiveness, and his faith gives him hope. If he is sincere, 
that means that he abandons his wrong conduct and makes amends. 

455. Sin js a sort of oppression of ourselves by ourselves. This follows from die 
doctrine of persona! responsibility, as opposed to that of blind fate or of an angry God 
or gods lying in wait for revenge or injury on mankind. 

456. Cf. Tennyson (In Memoriam): “Our little systems have their day. They have 
their day and cease to be: They are but broken lights of Thee, And Thou, O Lord! art 
more than they/’ Only Allah’s Truth will last, and it will gain the mastery in the end. 
If there is defeat, we must not be dejected, lose heart, or give up the struggle. Faith 
means hope, activity, striving steadfastly on to the goal. 

- 181 - 

Before you; travel through 
The earth* and see what was 
The end of those 
Who rejected Truth. 

Here is a plain statement 
To men* a guidance 
And instruction to those 
Who fear Allah! 

So lose not heart. 

Nor fall into despair: 

For ye must gain mastery 
If ye are true in Faith* 

If a wound hath touched you, 457 
Be sure a similar wound 
Hath touched the others* 

Such days (of varying fortunes) 
We give to men and men 
By turns: that Allah may know 
Those that believe, 

And that [ Ic may take 
To 1 limself from your ranks 
Martyr-witnesses (to Truth)* 

And Allah loveth not 
Those that do wrong. 

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Sunan; different ways by which Ihe ancient people like Ad, Thamud* tlie people of 
the Prophet Null were 1 resiled because of their arrogance, disobedience and rejection of 

457, These general considerations apply in particular to the disaster at Uhud. (1) In 
a fight for truth* if you are hurt* be sure the adversary' has suffered hurt also, the more 
so as he has no faith to sustain him. (2) Success or failure in tilts world comes to all 
at varying times: we must not grumble* as we do not see the whole of Allah’s Plan. 
(3) Men's true mettle is known in adversity as gold is assayed in fire; Cf also iiL 154, 
n, 467. (4) Martyrdom is in itself an honour and a privilege: how glorious is the fame 
of Hamza the Martyr? (5) If there is any dross in us, it will be purified by resistance 
and struggle* (6) When evil is given rope a Jiltle* it works out its own destruction; the 
orgies of cruelty indulged in by the Pagans after what they supposed to be their victory 
at Uhud filled up their cup of iniquity; it lost them the support and adherence of the 
best in their own ranks, and hastened the destruction of Paganism from Arabia. Cf. hi. 
127 and ii. 448. 

- 182 - 

S3 A. 141 144 


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141. Allah’s object also is to purge 4 ** 
Those that are true in Faith 
And to deprive of blessing 
Those that resist Faith. 

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142. Did ye think that ye 
Would enter 1 leaven 3 ^ 

Without Allah testing 
Those of you who fought hard 
(In Ills Cause) and 
Remained steadfast? 

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j 143, Ye did indeed 
Wish for Death 
Before ye encountered it: 
Now ye have seen it 
With your own eyes, 
(And ye flinch!) 

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144, Muhammad is no more 4ri> 

Than a Messenger: many 
Were the Messengers that passed 


Before Him. If he died 


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458. Thu purge or purification was in two senses. (1) it cleared out the Hypocrites 
from the ranks of the Muslim warriors. (2} The testing-lime strengthened the faith of the 
weak and wavering: for suffering has its own mission in life. The Prophet's example- 
wounded hut staunch, and firmer than ever-put new life into die Community. 

45‘J. Cf. ii. 214. 

460, This verse primarily applies to the battle of Uhud, in the course of which a cry 
was raised that the Messenger was slain. He had indeed been severely wounded, but 
Tallin, Abu Bakr, and AIT were at his side, and his own unexampled bravery saved the 
Muslim army from a rout. This verse was recalled again by Abu Bakr when the 

Messenger actually died a natural death eight years later, to remind people that Allah, 

Whose Message he brought, lives for ever. And have need to remember this now and 

often for two reasons: (1) when we feel inclined to pay more than human honour to one 

who was the truest, the purest, and the greatest of men, and thus in a sense to compound 
for our forgetting the spirit of fits teaching, and (2) when we feel depressed at the chances 
and changes of time, and forget that Allah lives and watches over us and over all His 
creatures now as in a history in the past and in the future. 

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- 183 * 

S.3 A. 144-146 

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Or were slain* will yc then 
Turn back on your heels? 

If any did turn back 
On his heels* not the least 
Harm will he do to Allah; 

But Allah {on the other hand) 

Will swiftly reward those 
Who (serve him) with gratitude. 

145. Nor can a soul die 
Except by Allah’s leave* 

The term being fixed 
As by writing. If any 
Do desire a reward 

In this life, We shall give it 4M 
To him; and if any 
Do desire a reward 
In the Hereafter, We shall 
Give it to him. 

And swiftly shall We reward 
Those that (serve os with) gratitude. 

146. How many of the Prophets 
Fought (in Allah’s way), 

And with them (fought) 

Large bands of godly men? 

But they never lost heart 
If they met with disaster 

In Allah’s way* nor did 
They weaken (in will) 

Nor give in* And Allah 
Loves those who are 
Finn and steadfast. 


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46 L There is a slight touch of irony in this. As applied to the archers at Uhud, who 
deserted their post for the sake of plunder, they might have got some plunder* but they 
put themselves and the whole of their army into jeopardy. For a little worldly gain, they 
nearly lost their souls. On the other hand, those who took the long view and fought with 
staunchness and discipline, “their reward was swift and sure. If they died, they got the 
crown of martyrdom. If they lived, they were heroes honoured m I his life and the next. 

- 184 - 

S3 A. 147-152 

J, 4 

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147. All that they said was: 

“Our Lord forgive us 
Our sins and anything 
We may have done 

Thai transgressed our duly: 
Establish our feet firmly. 

And help us against 
Those that resist 

1 48. And Allah gave them 

A reward in this world. 

And the excellent reward 
Of the Hereafter. For Allah 
Love th those who do good. 


149. G ye who believe! 

If ye obey the Unbelievers, 

They will drive you back 
On your heels, and ye 
Will turn hack (from Faith) 

To your own loss. 

150. Nay, Allah is your Protector, 

And He is the best of helpers, 

151. Soon shall We east terror 

Into the hearts of the Unbelievers 
For that they joined partners 
With Allah, for which He had sent 
No authority: their abode 
Will be the Fire: and evil 
Is the home of the wrong-doers! 

152. Allah did indeed fulfil 
His promise to you 

When wc with His permission 
Were about to annihilate 
Your enemy, -until ye tl inched 
And fell to disputing 

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- 185 - 

About the order, 462 
And disobeyed it 
After He brought you in siglu 
(Of the Victory) which ye covet. 
Among you are some 
That hanker after this world 
And some that desire 
The Hereafter. Then did 1 ie 
Divert you from your foes 
in order to test you. 4 *' 

But He forgave you: 

For Allah is full of grace 
To those who believe. 

153, Behold! ye were climbing up 
The lugh ground, without even 
Casting a side glance 
At any one. and the Messenger 
In your rear w r as calling you 
Back. There did Allah give you 
One distress after another 
By way of requital .' ' m 
To teach you not to grieve 

■ 1 - ' ^ u 

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462. The order was: nos to leave the post and strictly to maintain discipline, Uhud 
was in the beginning a victory for the Muslims. Many of the enemy were slain, and they 
were retiring when a pan of the Muslims, against orders, ran in pursuit, attracted by the 
prospects of booty. See note to iii, 121. 

463. The disobedience seemed at first pleasant: they were chasing the enemy, and 
there was the prospect of booty. But when the gap was not iced by the enemy, they turned 
the Hank round the hill and nearly overwhelmed the Muslims. Had it not been for Allah's 
grace, and the firmness of their Prophet and his immediate Companions, they would have 
been finished. 

464. It would seem that a parly of horsemen led by the dashing Khalid ibn AFwalJd 
came through the gap in the passes where the Muslim archers should have been, and in 
the confusion that arose, the retreating foe rallied and turned back on the Muslims, From 
the low ground on the bank of the valley the Muslims retreated in their turn and tried 
to gain the hill. They had a double loss: (1) they were baulked of the booty they had 
run after, and (2) their own lives and the lives of their whole army were in danger* and 
many lives were actually lost from their ranks. Their own lives being in danger, they had 
hardly time to grieve for the general calamity. But it steadied them, and some of them 
stood the test. 

- 186 - 

S.3 A, 153-154 

J. 4 

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For (the booty) that had escaped you 
And for (the ill) that had befallen 


For Allah is well aware 
Of all that ye do. 

154. After (the excitement) 

Of the distress. He sent down 
Calm on a bund of you 
Overcome with slumber, 465 
While another band 
Was stirred to anxiety 
By their own feelings, 

Moved by wrong suspicions 
Of Allah-suspicions due 
To Ignorance. They said: 

1 lave we any hand in the affair?' 1 '* 
Say thou: "Indeed, this affair 
Is wholly Allah's, 11 They hide 
In their minds what they 
Dare not reveal to thee. 

They say (to themselves); 
il !f we had had anything 
To do with tills affair. 

We should not have been 
In the slaughter here." 

Say: “Even if you had remained 
In your homes, those 
For whom death was decreed 
Would certainly have gone forth 
To the place of their death": 

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465. After the first surprise, when tire enemy turned on them, a great pari of the 
Muslims did their best, ;md seeing their mettle, the enemy withdrew to his camp. There 
was a lull; the wounded had rest; those who had fought the hard fight were visited by 
kindly Sleep, sweet Nature's nurse. In contrast to them was the band of Hypocrites, 
whose behaviour is described in the next note. 

466. The Hypocrites withdrew from the fighting. Apparently they had been among 
those who had been counselling the defence of Madina h within the walls instead of boldly 
coming out to meet the enemy. Their distress was caused by their own mental state: the 
sleep of the just was denied them: and they continued to murmur of what might have 
been. Only fools do so: wise men face actualities. 

S3 jjiiJ' 

- 187 - 

■ A, 154-156 

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Those of you 
Who turned hack 
On the day the two hosts 
Mel, -it was Satan 
Who caused them to fail. 
Because of some (evil) 

They had done. But Allah 
Has blotted out (their fault): 
For Allah is Oft -forgiving. 

Most Forbearing. 


() ye who believe! 

Be not like the Unbelievers, 
Who say of their brethren. 
When they are travelling 
Through the earth or engaged 
In fighting: “If they had stayed 
With its, they would not 
Have died, or been slain.” 

Ill is that Allah may make it 
A cause of sighs and regrets 

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467. That testing by Allah is not in order that it may add to His knowledge, for 
He knows all U is in order to help us subjectively, to mould our will, and purge us of 
any grosser motives, that will be searched out by calamity. If it is a hardened sinner, 
the test brings conviction out of his own self Cf. also iii. I4U. 

468, It was the duty of all who were able to fight, to fight in the sacred cause at 
UhmJ. But a small section were timid: they were not quite as had as those who railed 
against Allah, or those who thoughtlessly disobeyed orders. But they still failed in then 
duty. It is our inner motives that Allah regards. These timorous people were forgiven 
by Allah. Perhaps they were given another chance: perhaps they rose to it and did their 
duty then. 

^Jyt >y£ 

- 1 SR - 

S3 A. 156- 159 

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In their hearts. It is Allah 
That gives Life and Death, 469 
And Allah sees well 
All that ye do. 

157. And if ye are slain, or die. 
In the way of Allah, 
Forgiveness and mercy 
From Allah are far better 
Than all they could amass: 4 " 

158. And if ye die, or are slain, 
Lo! it is unto Allah 

That ye are brought together. 

159. It is part of the Mercy 

Of Allah that thou dost deal 
Gently with them. 471 
Wert thou severe 

469, It is want of faith that makes people afraid (I) of meeting death, (2) of doing 
their duty when it involves danger, as in travelling in order to earn an honest living, or 
fighting in a sacred cause. Such fear is part of the punishment for want of faith. If you 
have faith, there is no fear in meeting death, for it brings you nearer to your goal, nor 
in meeting danger for a sufficient cause, because you know that the keys of life and death 
are in Allah's hands. Nothing can happen without Allah's Will. If it is Allah's Will that 
you should die, your staying at home will not save you. If it is His Will that you should 
live, the danger you incur in a just cause brings you glory. Supposing it is His Will that 
you should lose your life in the danger, there are three considerations that would make 
you eager to meet it: (I) dying in doing your duty is the best means of reaching Allah's 
Mercy; (2) the man of faith knows that he is not going to an unknown country of which 
he has no news; he is going nearer to Allah: and (3) he is being “brought together ' unto 
Allah; i.t\, he will meet all his dear ones in faith; instead of the separation which the 
souls without faith fear, he looks forward to a surer reunion than is possible tn this life. 

470, Notice a beautiful little literary touch here. At first sight you would expect the 
second person lie re (“you could amass 1 *), to match the second person in the earlier clause. 
But remember that the second person in earlier clause refers to the man of faith, and 
the third person in the last line refers to the Unbelievers; as if it said: “Of course you 
as a man of faith would not be for hoarding riches: your wealth, -duly and the mercy 
of Allah, -is far more precious than anything the Unbelievers can amass in their selfish 

471, The extremely gentle nature of Muhammad endeared him to all, and it is 
reckoned as one of the Mercies of Allah. One of the Prophet's idles is “A Mercy to 
all Creation." At no time was this gentleness, this mercy, this long-suffering with human 
weaknesses, more valuable than after a disaster like that at Uhud. It is a quality, which 
then, as always, bound and binds the souls of countless men to him. 

- 189 - 

S. 3 A. 159-161 

' Vif' ^A* II Art m 

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Or harsh-hearted, 

They would have broken away 
From about thee: so pass over 
(Their faults), and ask 
For (Allah’s) forgiveness 
For them; and consult 
Them in affairs (of moment). 
Then, when thou hast 
Taken a decision, 

Put thy trust in Allah. 

For Allah loves those 

Who put their trust (in Him). 

160. If Allah helps you. 

None can overcome you; 

If He forsakes you. 

Who is there, after that. 

That can help you? 

In Allah, then. 

Let Believers put their trust. 

161. No prophet could (ever) 472 
Act dishonestly 

If any person acts dishonestly 
He shall, on the Day 
Of Judgment, restore 
What he misappropriated; 

Then shall every sou! 


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472. besides the gentleness of his nature, Al-Mustafa was known from his earliest 
life for his trustworthiness. Hence his title of AI-Arnm, Unscrupulous people often read 
their own low motives into other men, and their accusation, which is meant to injure, 
fastens on the various virtues for which the man they attack is well known. Some of the 
Hypocrites after Uhud raised some doubts about the division of the spoils, thinking to 
sow the seeds of poison in the hearts of the men who had deserted their posts in their 
craving for booty. Those low suspicions were never believed in by any sensible people, 
and they have no interesi for us now. But the general principles here declared are of 
eternal value. (1) Prophets of Allah do not act from unworthy motives. (2) Those who 
act from such motives are the lowest of creatures, and they will make no profit. {3} A 
prophet of Allah is not to be judged by the same standard as a greedy creature. {4) In 
Allah's eyes there arc various grades of men, and we must try to understand and 
appreciate such grades. If we trust our Leader, we shall not question his honesty without 
cause. If he is dishonest, he is not fit to be a leader. 

— — ' — — • 

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- 191 ) - 

S3 A. 161-165 

J. 4 


Receive its due 
Whatever it earned,- 
And none shall be 
Dealt with unjustly, 

162, Is the man who follows 
The good pleasure of Allah 
Like the man who draws 
On himself the wrath 

Of Allah, and whose abode 
Is in Hell?- 
A woeful refuge! 

163. They are in varying grades 
In the sight of Allah, 

And Allah sees well 

All that they do, 

164, Allah did confer 
A great favour 

On the Believers 473 
When I le sem among them 
A Messenger from among 
Th e in sc Ives, rehca rsi ng 
Unto them the Signs 
Of Allah, purifying them. 

And instructing them 
In Scripture and Wisdom, 

While, before that. 

They had been 
In manifest error. 

165. What! When a single 
Disaster smites you. 

Although ye smote (your enemies) 
With one twice as great. 

Do ye say?- 
"‘Whence is this?” 

Say (to them): 

‘it is from yourselves: 

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1 473. C/. it. 151 

- 191 - 

For Allah hath power 
Over all things,' 1 474 

166. What ye suffered 

On the day the two armies 
Met, was with the leave 
Of Allah* in order that 
He might test 4 * the Relievers.- 

167, And the Hypocrites also. 476 
These were told: “Come, 

Fight in the way of Allah. 

Or (at least) drive 

(The foe from your city)," 

They said: “Had we known 
There would be a fight, we should 
Certainly have followed you," 

They were that day 
Nearer to Unbelief 
Than to Faith, 

Saving with their lips 
What was not in their hearts. 

Rm Allah hath full knowledge 
Of all they conceal. 

16S. (They are) the ones that say, 

(Of their brethren slain). 

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474, If Uhud was a reverse to the Muslims, they had inflicted a reverse twice as great 
on the Makkans at Badr. This reverse was not without Allah’s permission, for He wanted 
to test and purify the faith of those who followed Islam, and to show them that they 
must strive and do all in their power to deserve Allah's help. If they disobeyed orders 
and neglected discipline, they must attribute the disaster to themselves and not to Allah. 

475, Test: literally know. See n. 467 to in, 154. 

476, The testing of the Hypocrites was the searching out of their motives and 
exposing them to the sight of their brethren, who might otherwise have been taken in. 
trr the first place they gave counsels of camion: in their minds it was nothing but 
cowardice. In the second place, what they wished was not the good of the community 
but its being placed m a contemptible position. When others were for self-sacrifice, they 
were for ease and fair words Pretending to he Muslims, they were nearer to Unbelief. 
Ironically they pretended to know nothing of fighting, and left their devout brethren U> 
defend their faith and ideas. If that devout spirit did not appeal to them, they might at 
least have defended their city of Madinah when it was threatened, -defended their hearths 
and homes as good citizens. 

- 192 - 

S.3 A* 168-171 

While they themselves 
Sit (at ease): “If only 
They had listened to us. 

They would not have been slain." 
Say: * ‘Avert death 
From your own selves, 
if ye speak the truth/' 

169. Think not of those 

Who are slain in Allah's way 
As dead. Nay, they live, 4. 

Finding their sustenance 
From their Lord. 

170. They rejoice in the Bounty 
Provided by Allah: 

And with regard to those 
Left behind, who have not 
Yet joined them (in their bliss). 
The (Martyrs) glory in the fact 
That on them is no fear. 

Nor have they (cause to) grieve. 

171. They rejoice in the Grace 
And the Bounty from Allah, 

And in the fact that 
Allah snffercth not 
The reward of the Faithful 
To be lost (in the least). 



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477. A beautiful passage about the Martyrs in the cause of Truth, They are not death 
they live, -and in a far higher and deeper sense than in the life they have left Even those 
who have no faith in the Hereafter honour those that die in their cause, with the crown 
of immortality in the minds and memories of generations unborn. But in Faith we see 
a higher, truer, and less relative immortality, Perhaps “immortality" is not the right word 
in this connection, as it implies a continuation of this life, In their ease, through the 
gateway of death, they enter, the true real Life, as opposed to its shadow here, 

478. The Martyrs not only rejoice at the bliss they have themselves attained. The 
dear ones left behind are in their thoughts: it is part of their glory that they have saved 
their dear ones from fear, sorrow, humiliation, and grief, in this life, even before they 
come to share in the glories of the Hereafter. 

Note how the refrain: * l on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve": comes in 
here with a new and appropriate meaning. Besides other tilings, it means that the dear 
ones have no cause to grieve at the death of the Martyrs; rather have they cause to 

- 193 - 

S.3 A. 172-175 

t O'j*^ Jl « 

172* Of those who answered 
The call of Allah 
And the Messenger. 

Even after being wounded; 
Those who do right 
And refrain from wrong 
Have a great reward 

173* Those to whom men said: 
“A great army is gathering 
Against you* so fear them": 
But it (only) increased 
Their Faith: they said: 

"For us Allah sufficcth* 

And He is the best 
Guardian. 1 ' 

174, And they returned 

With Grace and Bounty 
From Allah: no harm 
liver touched them: 

For they folio wed 
The good pleasure of Allah: 
And Allah is the Lord 
Of bounties unbounded. 

175* It is only the Satan 
That suggests to you 
The fear of his votaries: 

Be ye not afraid 
Of them* but fear Me* 

If ve have Faith. 

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479. After the confusion at Uhud, men rallied round the Prophet. He was wounded* 
and they were wounded* hut they were all ready to Tight again, Abu Sul van with his 
Mak kails withdrew, but left a challenge with them to meet him and his army again at 
the fair of Hndr Sugra next year. The challenge was accepted* and a picked hand of 
Muslims under their* intrepid Leader kept the tryst< but the enemy did not come. They 
returned* not only unharmed* hut enriched by the trade at the fair* and (it may be 
presumed) strengthened by the accession of new adherents to their cause. 

- 194 - 

J. 4 

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176. Let not those grieve thee 
Who rush headlong 
Into Unbelief: 

Not the least harm 
Will they do to Allah: 
Allah’s Plan is that He 
Will give them no portion 
In the Hereafter, 

But a severe punishment. 

177, Those who purchase 
Unbelief at the price 
Of faith. - 
Not the least harm 
Will they do to Allah, 
But they will have 
A grievous punishment. 

178. Let not the Unbelievers 
Think that Our respite 
To them is good for themselves: 
We gram them respite 
Thai they may grow 4 * 1 
In their iniquity: 

But they will have 
A shameful punishment. 

179, Allah will not leave 

The Believers in the state 
In which ye are now. 
Until 1 le separates 
What is evil 
From what is good 481 

4KU, Thai the cup of their imqutty may be full. The appetite tor sin grows with what 
it feeds on. The natural result is that the sinner sinks deeper into sin. If there is any 
freedom of will, this naturally follows, though Allah’s Grace is always ready for the 
repentant If the Grace is rejected, the increase of iniquity makes the nature of iniquity 
plainer to those who might otherwise be attracted by its glitter. The working of Allah’s 
Law is therefore both just and merciful. See also the next verse. 

481. The testing of good men by calamities and evil men by leaving them in the 
enjoyment of good things is part of the trials of Allah, tn which some freedom of choice 
is left to man. The psychological and subjective test is unfailing, and the separation is = y 

* 195 - 

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Nor will Allah disclose 
Tt) you the secrets 
Of the Unseen, 4 * 2 
But He chooses 
Of His Messengers 
Whom He pleases; 

So believe in Allah 
Arid His Messengers: 

And if ye believe 
And do right. 

Ye have a great reward 
Without measure. 

1 HU. And let not those 

Who covetously withhold 

Of the gifts which Allah 

Hath given them of His Grace, 4 * 1 

Think that it is good for them: 

Nay t it will he the worse 

For them: soott it will 

Be tied to their necks 

Like a twisted collar, 4 * 4 

On the Dav of Judgment. 

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effected portly by the operation of the human wills, to which some freedom is allowed. 
But it must he effected, if only in the interests of the good. 

482. Man in his weak state would he most miserable it he could see the secrets of 
the Future or the secrets of the Unseen, But things are revealed to him from time to 
time as may be expedient for him. by Messengers chosen for the purpose. Our duty is 
to hold fast by faith and lead a good life. 

483. The gifts are of all kinds: material gifts, such as wealth, property, strength of 
limbs, etc, or intangible gifts, such as influence, birth in a given set. intellect, skill, 
insight, etc., or spiritual gilts of the highest kind. The spending of all these things (apart 
from what is neecssary for ourselves) for those who need them, is charity, and purifies 
our own character. The withholding of them (apart from our needs) is similarly greed 
and selfishness, and is strongly condemned. 

484. By an apt metaphor the miser is told that his wealth or the other gifts which 
he hoarded will cling round his neck and do him no good. He will wish he could get 
rid of them, but he will not be able to do so. According to the Biblical phrase in another 
connection they will hang like a millstone round his neck (Man sviii. n). The metaphor 
here is fuller. He hugged his wealth or his gifts about him. They will lie come like a heavy 
collar, the badge of slavery, round his neck. They will be tied tight and twisted, and they 
will give him pain and anguish instead of pleasure, f /. also xvii, 13. 


Jvt -u'' 

- 196 - 

S.3 A.18IHH3 

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To Allah belongs the heritage 
Of the heavens and the earth; 
And Allah is well-acquainted 
With all that ye do. 


181. Allah hath heard 
The taunt of those 

Who say: “Truly. Allah 486 
Is indigent and we 
Are rich! "-We shall 
Certainly record their word 
And (their act) of slaying 
The Prophets in defiance 48 ; 

Or right, and We shall say: 
"Taste ye the Chastisement 
Of the scorching Fire! 

182. “This is because 

Of the (unrighteous deeds) 
Which your hands 
Sent on before ye: 488 
For Allah never do injustice to 
Those who serve Him." 

183. They (also) said: “Allah took 
Our promise not to believe 
In a messenger unless 

He showed us a sacrifice 

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4H5, Another metaphor is now introduced. Material wealth or property is only called 
ours during our short lilt* here. So all gifts are ours in trust only: they ultimately revert 
to Allah, u> Whom belongs all that is in the heavens or on earth. 

48fi, In ii, 245 we read: “Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan?" In 
other places charity or spending in the way of Allah is metaphorically described as giving 
to Allah, The Holy Prophet often used that expression in appealing for funds to be spent 
m the way of Allah, The scoffers mocked and said: “So Allah is indigent and we are 
rich’" fTiis blasphemy was of a piece with all their conduct m history, in slaying the 
Prophets and men of God. 

4H7. For the expression “slaying in defiance of right." Cf l iii 21. and in, 112, 

4H8. Cf ii. 95 and note. 

- 197 - 


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Consumed by ftre 4VJ 
(From heaven)/’ Say: 

"’There came to you 
Messengers before me. 

With Clear Signs 
And even with what 
Ye ask for: why then 
Did ye slay them. 

If ye speak the truth?'" 

184. Then if they reject thee. 

So were rejected messengers 
Before thee, who came 
With Clear Signs, 

And the Scriptures. 

And the Book of Enlightenment. 4 

185. Every soul shall have 
A taste of death : 41,1 
And only on the Dav 

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489. Burn sacrifices figured in the Mosaic Law. and in the religious ceremonies long 
before Moses, but it is not true that the Mosaic Law laid down a fire from heavens on 
a burnt sacrifice as a test of the credentials of Prophets. Even if it had been so, did the 
Jews obey the Prophets who showed this Sign? In Leviticus ix. 23-24* wc are told a burnt 
offering prepared by Moses and Aaron: "and there came a fire out from before the Lord* 
and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat.” Yet the people rebelled 
frequently against Moses. Abel's offering (sacrifice) was probably a burnt offering: it was 
accepted by Allah, and he was killed by Cain out of jealousy: Gen. iv. 3-8. Mosaic 
sacrifices were no longer-needed by the people of Jesus or the people of Muhammad. 

490. The three things mentioned in the Text are: (1) Clear Signs (buiyimit); (2) 
zubur, and (3) kiia M7- Munir, The signification of (1)1 have explained in the note to hi. 
62, as far as they relate to Jesus. In a more general sense, it means the clear evidence 
which Allah's dealings furnish about a Messenger of Allah having a true mission: t\g., 
Moses in relation to Pharaoh. (2) lire word Zubur has been translated as scriptures. It 
comes front the Tirol Zahara which implies something hard. The commentators are not 
agreed, but the prophetic writings which seemed to contemporaries difficult to understand 
may well be meant here. David’s psalms {Zubur, iv. 163) may also come under this 
description. As to (3), there is 110 doubt about the literal meaning of the words* "the 
Book of Enlightenment”. But what does it precisely refer to? I take it to mean the 
fundamental guide to conduct -the dear rules laid down in all Dispensations to help men 
10 lead good lives. 

491. The death of the body will give a taste of death to the soul when the soul 
separates from the body. The soul will then know that this life was but a probation. And 
seeming inequalities will be adjusted finally on the Day of Judgment. 

198 - 

$.3 A. 1X5*187 


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Of Judgment shall you 
Be paid your full recompense. 
Only lie who is saved 
Far from the Fire 
And admitted to the Garden 
Will have succeeded; 

For the life of this world 
Is hut goods and chattels 
Of deception. 4 ^ 

I SO. Ye shall certain I v 
Be tried and tested 
In your possessions 
And in your selves; 44 s 
And ye shall certainly 
Hear much that will grieve you. 
From those who received 
The Honk before you 
And from those who 
Worship partners besides Allah. 
But if vc persevere 
Patiently, and guard 
Against evil, -then 
That indeed 
Is a matter of great 

US7. And remember 

Allah look a Covenant 

From the People of the Book, 4 ** 4 

To make it known 

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492. ( /. Longfellow's Psalm of Life: "All ibis world s a fleeting show. For man's 
illusion given". Thu only reality wilt he when wc have attained our final goal, 

493. Not wealth and possessions only (or want of them), are the means of our trial. 
All our personal talents, knowledge, opportunities, and their opposites.-in fact everything 
that happens to us and makes up our personality is a means of our testing. So is our 
Faith: we shall have to pul up for it many insults from those who do not share it. 

494. t ruth -Allah's Mcssage-comcs to any man or nation as a matter of sacred trust. 
It should he broadcast and published and taught and made dear io all within reach. 
Privileged priesthood at once erects a harrier. But worse,- when such priesthood tampers 
with the truth, taking what suits it and ignoring the rest, it has sold Allah's gift for a 
miserable ephemeral profit; how miserable, it will [earn when retributive justice comes 

* 199 - 

S. 3 A. 187-190 

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Ant! dear to mankind. 

And nut to hide it; 

Bui they threw it away 
Behind their hacks, 4 ' 15 
And purchased with it 
Some miserable gain! 

And vile was the bargain 
They made? 

18N. Think not that those 
Who exult in what they 
Have brought about, and Jove 
To be praised for what 
They have not dcme,- w 
Think nut that they 
Can escape the Chastisement, 
For them is a Chastisement 
Grievous indeed. 

189, To Allah belonged! 

The dominion 

Of the heavens 
And die earth; 

And Allah lialh power 
Over all things. 


190. Behold! In the creation 

Of the heavens and the earth. 
And the alternation 
Of Night and Day*- 1- ' 

There are indeed Signs 
For men of understanding - 

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495, Cl ti. 101. 

4%. A searching picture of the wordly wise! t hey may cause mischief and misery 
io others, but gloat over any glory it may bring them! They may trample down Allah's 
truths, and enthrone false standards of worship. They ma> take credit lor virtues they 
do not possess ami seeming successes that conic in spite of their despicable deceptions. 

497, See ii. 161. The two items mentioned here are just brief symbols recalling the 
six or seven mentioned in the other passage. And those too are but brief symbols and 
reminders of the glorious majesty of Allah and His goodness to man. 


- 2(K1 - 


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191, Men who remember Allah 
Standing, sitting. 

And lying down on their sides, 44 * 
And contemplate 
The (wonders of) creation 
In the heavens and the earth, 
(With the saying): 

“Our Lord not for naught 
Mast Thou created (all) this! 
Glory to Thee! Give us 444 
Salvation from the Chastisement 
Of the Fire. 

192- “Our Lord! any whom Thou 
Dost admit to the Fire, 

Truly Thou cove rest with shame. 
And never will wrong-doers 
Find any helpers! 

193. “Our Lord! we have heard 
The call of one calling 
(Us) to Faith, 'Believe ye 
In the Lord,’ and wc 
Have believed. Our Lord! 

Forgive us our sins. 

Blot out from us 

Our iniquities, and take 

To Thyself our souls 

In the company of the righteous. 

194, "Our Lord! Grant us 
What Thou didst promise 

Unto us through Thy Messengers, 
And save us from shame 
On the Day of Judgment: 

For Thou never break est 
Thy promise.” 

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498. That is, in all postures, which again is symbolical or all circumstances, personal, 
social, economic, historical and other. 

499. It is the thought of Salvation that connects alt these glories with man. Otherwise 
man would he a miserable, contemptible creature in these beauties and wonders of 
Nature. With his high destiny of Salvation he can be lifted even higher than these glories! 

V™-y * 

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- 201 - 

S.3 A. 195-198 




And I heir Lord hath accepted 
Of them, and answered them: 
"Never will I suffer to be lost 
The work of any of you. 

Be he male or female: 

Ye are members, one of another:^ 1 
Those who have left their homes. 
And were driven out therefrom, 
And suffered harm in Mv Cause, 
And fought and were slain, - 
Verily, 1 will blot out 
From them their iniquites. 

And admit them into Gardens 
With rivers flowing beneath:- 
A reward from Allah 501 
And from Allah 
Is the best of rewards.” 

Let not the strutting about 
Of the Unbelievers 
Through the land 
Deceive thee: 

Little is it for enjoyment: 

Their Ultimate abode 
Is Hell: what an evil bed 
(To lie on)! 

On the other hand, for those 
Who fear their Lord, 

Are Gardens, with rivers 
Flowing beneath; therein 
Are they to dwell (for ever) - 
An entertainment from Allah; 

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500. In Islam the equal status of the sexes is not only recognised but insisted on. 
If sex distinction, which is a distinction in nature, does not coum in spiritual matters, 
still less of course would count artificial distinctions, such as rank, wealth, position, race, 
colour, birth, etc. 

501 Here, and in tii 198 below, and in many places elsewhere, stress is laid on the 
fact that whatever gift, or bliss will come to the righteous, its chief merit will be that 
it proceeds from Allah Himself. “N caress to Allah" expresses it better than any other 


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- 202 - 

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Anti that which is from Allah 
Is ihc best (bliss) 

For the righteous. 

And there are, certainly. 

Among the People of the Hook 
Those who believe in Allah, 

In I he revelation to you. 

And in the revelation to them. 
Bowing in humility to Allah: 
They will not sell 
The Signs of Allah 
For a miserable gain! 

For them is a reward 
With their Lord, 

And Allah is swift in account. 

O ye who believe! 

Persevere in patience 11 " 

And constancy; vie 
In such perseverance; 

Strengthen each other; 

And fear Allah; 

Chat ye may prosper. 


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5(J2. The full meaning of Sahr is to tie understood here, viz.: Patience, perseverance, 
constancy, self-restraint, refusing to he cowed down 'These virtues we are to exercise for 
ourselves and in relation to others; we are to set an example, so that others may vie 
with us. and we are to vie with them, lest we fall short; in this way we streglhen each 
other and hind our mutual relations closer, in our common service to Allah. 

503. Prosperity ffaldh) here and in other passages is to be understood in a wide 
sense, including prosperity in our mundane affairs as well as in spiritual progress, in both 
cases it implies happiness and the attainment of our wishes, purified by the love of Allah. 

- 203 - 

Intro, to 5, 4 


This Sura is closely connected chronologically with Sura Hi. Its subject* 
matter deals with the social problems which the Muslim community had to face 
immediately after Uhud, While the particular occasion made the necessity 
urgent, the principles laid down have permanently governed Muslim Law and 
social practice. 

Broadly speaking, the Sura consists of two parts: (I) that dealing with 
women, orphans, inheritance, marriage, and family rights generally, and (2) that 
dealing with the recalcitrants in the larger family, the community at Madina h, 
viz. t the Hypocrites and their accomplices. 

Summary . -It begins with an appeal to the solidarity of mankind, the rights 
of women and orphans, and the implications of family relationship, including 
an equitable distribution of property after death, (iv. 1-14), 

While the decencies of family life should be enforced, women should he 
held in honour and their rights recognized, in marriage, property, and 
inheritance; and this principle of goodness should be extended to alt beings, 
great and small, (iv. 15-42). 

The sections in Madinah. not yet in the Muslim community, should not go 
after false gods, but should accept the authority of the Prophet, and obey him. 
Then it will be their privilege to he admitted to a great and glorious Fellowship, 
(iv. 43-70). 

The Believers should organize in self-defence against their enemies, and 
beware of the secret plots and mischiefs of the Hypocrites; how deserters should 
be t rented, (iv. 71-91). 

Caution about the taking ul life: recommendations for leaving places 
inimical to Islam: religious duties in the midst of war, (iv. 92-104). 

Treachery and the lure of evil (iv. 105-126), 

Women and orphans to he justly dealt with: Faith must go with justice, 
sincerity, and moderation in speech, (iv. 127-152). 

Where People of the Book went wrong, with honourable exceptions, (iv. 

- 204 - 

Juz' 4 

Sural An-Nisa 4 Aval 1-2 

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In the name of Allah, Most Gracious 
Most Merciful. 

1. O mankind! fear 
Your Guardian Lord, 

Who created you 
From a single Person/ 1 ^ 

Created, out of it. 

His mate, and from them twain 
Scattered (like seeds) 

Countless men and women 
Fear Allah, through Whom 50 * 

Ye demand your mutual (rights). 
And be heedful of the wombs 51 * 1 
(That bore you): for Allah 
Ever watches over you, 

2, To orphans restore their property 
(When they reach their age). 

Nor substitute (your) worthless things 
For (their) good ones; and devour not 


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504. Nttf\ may mean: (I) soul: 12) self; (3) person, living person; (4) will, good 
pleasure, as in jv. 4 below. Minha. ] follow the construction suggested by Imam Razi. 
The particle min would then suggest here a species, a nature, a similarity. The pronoun 
hO refers of course to AVv/T 

505. All our mutual Tights and dm res are referred to Allah We are l Its creatures: 
lbs Will is the standard and measure of Allah; ami our duties are measured by our 
conformity with His Will "Our wills are ours, to make them Thine,*’ says Tennyson iln 
Maiutriamh Among ourselves (human beings) our mutual rights and duties arise out of 
Allah’s Law, the sense of Right that is implanted in us by Him. 

506. Among the most wonderful mysteries of mir nature is that of sex. The 
unregenerate male is apt. in the pride of his physical strength, to forget the alt- important 
pan which the female plays in his very existence, and in all the social relationships that 
arise in our collective human lives. The mother that bore us must ever have our 
reverence, The wife, through whom we enter parentage, must have our reverence. Sex, 
which governs so much of our physical life, and has so much influence on our emotional 
and higher nature, deserves-not our fear, or out contempt, or our amused indulgence, 
hut-our reverence in the highest sense of the term. With this fitting introduction we enter 
on a discussion of women, orphans, and family relationships 


— : 

- 205 * 

S.-1A.2-4 J, 4 gl J H.j 9 L.| 

' J ' 

Their substance (by mixing ii up)* 17 
With your own. For this is 
Indued a great sin, 

3, If ye fear that ye shall not 
Be able to deal justly 
With the orphans," (,K 

Marry women of your choice * 

Two, or three, or four; 

But if yc fear that ye shall not 
Be able to deal justly (with them). 
Then only one, or 
That which your right hands possess. 
That will be more suitable. 

To prevent you 
From doing injustice. (J J 

4. And give the women 

(On marriage) their t lower 
As an obligation; but if they. 

Of their own good pleasure, 

Remit any part of it to you. 

Take it and enjoy it 
With right good cheer. 


507, Justice to orphans is enjoined, and three things are particularly mentioned as 
temptations in the wav of a guardian: (l) He must not postpone restoring .iH his ward's 
property when the lime comes; subject to iv* 5 below, (2) It there is a list of property, 
it is not enough that that list should he technically followed: the property restored must 
he of equal value to the property received: the same principle applies where there is no 
list. (3) It property is managed together, or where perishable goods must necessarily he 
consumed, the strictest probity is necessary when the separation takes place, and this is 
Insisted on. See also ii. 220 and note. 

508* Notice the conditional clause about orphans, introducing the rules about 
marriage. This reminds us of the immediate occasion of the promulgation of tins verse. 
Ji was after Uhud, when the Muslim community was left with many orphans and widows 
and some captives of war. Their treatment was to be governed by principles of the 
greatest humanity and equity. The occasion i> past, but the principles remain. Marry the 
orphans tf you are quite sure that you will m that way protect their interests and their 
property, with perfect justice to them and to your own dependants if you have any. If 
not. make other arrangements for the orphans. 

509. The unrestricted number of wives of the “Times of Ignorance*' was now strictly 
limited to a maximum of four* provided you could treat them with equality. 

- 206 - 

S.4 A-5-f> 

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To those weak of underst inkling 


Give not your properly 511 which 
Allah has assigned to you 
To manage, 

Bui feed and clothe them 
Therewith, and speak to them 
Words of kindness and justice. 

6. Make trial of orphans 
Until they reach the age 5 1 
Of marriage: if then ye find 
Sound judgment in them. 

Release their property to them; 

But consume it not wasicfully. 

Nor in haste against their growing up. 
If the guardian is well-off. 

Let him claim no remuneration* 

Bui if he is poor* let him 
Have for himself what is 
Just and reasonable. 

When ye release their property 
To them, take witnesses 
In their presence: 

But all-sufficient 

0 CJ.&& 

5 If l This applies to orphans, bar the wording is perfectly general, and defines 
principles like those of Chancery m English Law and (he Court of Wards in Indian I aw 
Property has not only its rights hut also its responsibilities. The owner nia\ not do just 
what he likes absolutely; his right is limited h> the good of his family of which he is 
a member* and if he is Incapable of understanding it. his control should he removed This 
does not mean that he is harshly dealt with. On the contrary his interest must he 
protected, and he must he treated with special kindness because of his incapacity 

ML Your property: Ultimately all property belongs to Allah, and is intended tor the 
support of his dose relations. It is held in trust by a particular individual. If he is 
incapable, he is put aside but gently and with kindness. While his incapacity remains, the 
Julies and responsibilities devolve on his guardian even more shicih than in the ease of 
the original owner: for he may not take any of the profits for himself unless he is poor, 
and in that case hjs remuneration for his trouble must he on a scale that is no more 
than just and reasonable. 

512 The age of marriage is the age when ihev reach their majority. 


- 207 - 

S.4 A. 6- 10 


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Is Allah in taking account. 51 ' 

7. From whai is left by parents 
And those nearest related 514 
There is a share for men 
And a share for women. 
Whether the properly he small 

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Or large, -a determinate share. 

8, Hut if at the time of division 
Other relatives, or orphans. 

Or poor, are present. 

Give them out of the (property). 

And speak to them 

Words of kindness and justice. 

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9. l et those (disposing of an estate) 

1 1 a vc ! h e sa m e fe a r i n 1 1 re i r mi fids 

As they would have for their own 
If they had left a helpless family 


Let them fear Allah, and speak 
Appropriate words 5 15 

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i ll). Those who unjustly 
Hat up the property 

Of orphans, eat up 
A Fire into their own 

Bodies: they will soon 
Be enduring a blazing Fire! 

M3 It is good to take human witnesses when you faithfully discharge your trust: bvn 
remember that, however fully you satisfy your fellow- men when you give your account 
to them, there is a stricter account due from you to Allah. If you arc righteous in Allah's 

eyes, you must follow these stricter standards, 

■ * 

5M I have resisted the temptation to translate “next to kin,' 1 as Shis phrase has a 
technical meaning in Indian lavs, referring to certain kinds of heirs, whereas here the 
people meant are those whose inheritance is to be divided The shares are specified. Here 
the general principles are laid down that females inherit as well as males, and dial 
relatives who have no legal shares, orphans, and indigent people are not to be treated 
harshly, if present at the division. 

515, U is a touching argument addressed to those who have to divide an estate. \ low 
anxious would you be if you had left a helpless family behind? It others do so. help and 
be kind', 



* 208 - 

S.4 A. 1 1 

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Allah ( ill us ) directs you 
As regards your children's 
(Inheritance): in the male, 

A portion equal to that 
Of two females: if only 
Daughters, two or more/ * 1 
Their share is two-thirds 
Of the inheritance; 

If only one, her share 
is a half. 

For parents, a sixth share 
Of the inheritance to each, 

If lire deceased left children; 

If no children, and the parents 
Are the (only) heirs, the mother 
Has a third: if the deceased 
Left brothers (or sisters) 

The mother has a sixth. 

(The distribution in all cases 
Is) after the payment 
Of legacies and debts. 

Ye know not whether 


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516. The principles of inheritance law are laid down in broad outline nr the Qur an; 
the precise details have been worked out on the basis of the Prophet's practice and that 
of Ins Companions, and by interpretation and analogy. Muslim jurists have collected a 
vast amount of learning on I his subject, and this body ot law is enough by itself to form 
the subject of life-long study. Here we shall deal only with the broad principles to be 
gathered from the Text, as interpreted by the Jurists. 

(1) The power of testamentary disposition extends over only one-third of the 
Properly; the remaining two-thirds are distributed among heirs as hud down, (2) All 
distribution takes place after the legacies and debts (including funeral expenses) have first 
been paid. (3) Legacies cannot be left to any of the heirs included in the scheme of 
distribution: or it will amount to upsetting the shares and undue preference of one heir 
to another. (4) Generally . but not always, ihe male takes a share double that of a female 
in his own category. 

5 17. At first sight, the Arabic words seem to mean: “if more than two daughters/* 
Hut the alternative in the next clause is: “if only one daughter." Logically, therefore, the 
first clause must mean: “ii daughters, two or more/* This is the general interpretation, 
and is confirmed by the supplementary provision in iv. 176 at the end of ihe Sura, which 
should he read along with this. 

-■ - ' 5 — — : — — — 

- 209 - 

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Your parents or your children 
Arc nearest to you 
In benefit. These are 
Sett led portions ordained 1 * 

By Allah: and Allah is 
All-knowing, A 11- wise. 

In what your wives leave. 

Your share is a half, 
l j they leave no child. 

But if they leave a child. 

Ye get a fourth; after payment 
Of legacies and debts, 
hi what ye leave; 

Their share is a fourth. 

If ye leave no child; 

But if ye leave a child. 

They gel an eighth; after payment 
Of legacies and debts. 

If the man or woman 

Whose inheritance is in question. 


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5 IK, This verse deals with the portions allotted to (a) children, and (b) parents. The 
next verse deals with the portions aliened to (c) husband or wife of the deceased, and 
(d) collaterals. The children's shares are fixed, hut their amount will depend upon what 
goes to the parents, if both parents are living, and there are also children, both father 
and mother take a sixth each: if only one parent is living, he or she takes his or her 
sixth; and the rest goes to the children. If the parents are living, and there is no child 
ot other heir, the mother gets a third (and the father the remaining two-thirds); il there 
are no children, but there are brothers or sisters (this is interpreted strictly in the plural), 
the mother has a sixth, and the lather apparently the residue, as the father excludes 
collaterals. This is far from being an exhaustive statement, but it establishes the 
proposition that children and parents have always some share if they survive, but their 
shares arc affected by the existence and number of the heirs in these categories. 

5I 1 ). The husband takes a halt of his deceased wife's property if she leases no child, 
the rest going to resuluimes; if she leaves a child, the husband gets only a fourth, 
hollowing the rule that the female share is generally half the male share, the widow gets 
a tourilt of her deceased husband's property, if lie leaves no children, and an eighth if 
he leaves children, 1 1 there are more widows than one, their collective share is a fourth 
or an eighth as the case may be, inter U* they divide equally. 

- 211 ) - 

522. De bis (in which funeral expenses lake first rank) and legaci 
on the estate of a deceased person * before distribution takes place 
dealing should he observed in all matters, so that no one's interests 
funeral expenses should he reasonable; debts must he genuine and ru 
the shares must be calculated with fairness. 

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Has left neither ascendants nor 

descendants / " 
Hut has left n brother 21 
Or a sister* each one of the two 
Gets n sixth; hut if more 
Than two. they share in a third; 
After payment of legacies 
And debts; so that no loss’ 122 
Is caused (to any one). 

Thus is it ordained hy Allah; 

And Allah is All-knowing. 

Most Forbearing. 

13. Those are limits 

Set hy Allah: those who 
Obey Allah and Mis Messenger 
Will he admitted to Gardens 
Willi rivers flowing beneath. 

To abide therein ( for ever) 

And that will be 

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52IT Ihe word in Arabic is kttUiItir, which is so construed usually. Hue it was nowhere 
defined author i naively in ihe life lime of the Messenger, This was one of the three terms 
about which Hadhrat Umar wished that ihe Messenger had defined them in his lifetime, 
the other two being the share of grandfather, and rihti (usury). On the accepted 
definition, we are concerned with the inheritance of a person who lias left no descendant 
or ascendant (however distant), hui only collaterals* with or without u widow or widower. 
If there is a widow or widower surviving, she or he takes the share as already defined, 
before the collaterals come in. 

521. A “brother or sister'' is here interpreted to mean a uterine brother or sister, 
lc., a brother or sister hy ihe same mother but not by the same father, as the case of 
lull brothers and sisters or brothers and sisieis by die same lather hui different mothers 
is understood lo he dealt with later, in the last verse of litis Sura. The uterine brother 
or sister, it only one survives, takes a sixth: if more than one survive, they take a third 
collectively, and divide among themselves; this on the supposition that there are no 
descendants or ascendants, however remote I here may, however, he a widow or widower 
surviving- she oi he takes her or his share, as already specified. 

3 he shares of collaterals generally are calculated on a complicated system which 
cannot be described in a brief note, For these, and the rules about Residuarics ('A$aha) 
reference should he made to special leunl tre 


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The supreme achievement. 5 " A 

But those who disobey 
Allah and His Messenger 
And transgress His limits 
Will he admitted 
To a Fire, to abide therein: 

And they shall have 
A humiliating punishment* 


If any of your women 
Are guilty of lewdness.' 

Take the evidence of four 4 
(Reliable) witnesses from amongst yon 
Against them; and if they testify. 
Confine them to houses until 
Death do claim them. 

Or Allah ordain for them 
Some (other) way. 



17 . 

If two persons among you 
Are guilty of lewd ness. 

Punish them both. 

If they repent and amend. 
Leave them alone; for Allah 
Is Oft -returning. Most Merciful, 

Allah accepts the repentance 
Of those who do evil 
In ignorance and repent 

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522- A, Cf. xliv. 57. tv 4733, 

523 Most commentators understand litis to refer to adultery or fornication: in that 
case they consider that the punishment was altered by the later verse, xxiv. 2. 

524, To protect the honour of women, stricter evidence is required. Le., the evidence 
of four instead of the usual two witnesses. It is the same for adultery (see xxiv 4,1 

525. Keep them in prison until some definite order is received. Those who take the 
crime to he adultery or fornication construe this definite order ("some other way") to 
mean some definite pronouncement hy ihe Prophet under inspiration; this was die 
punishment of flogging under xxiv 2, lor fornication, and stoning to death under the 
Prophet s directives for adultery. 










- 212 

S.4 A. 17-19 

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Soon afterwards; to them 
Will Allah turn in mercy: 

For Allah is full of knowledge 
And wisdom, 

IK, Of no effect is the repentance 
Of those who continue 52 * 

To do evil, until death 
Faces one of them, and he says, 
“Now have I repented indeed;" 
Nor of those who die 
Rejecting Faith; for them 
Have we prepared 
A chastisement most grievous, 

19. (> ye who believe I 

Ye are forbidden to inherit 
Women against their will. 527 
Nor should ye treat them 
With harshness, that ye may 
Take away pan of live dower 528 
Ye have given them, -except 
Where they have been guilty 
Of open lewdness; 

On the contrary live with them 
On a footing of kindness and equity 
If ye lake a dislike to them 
1 1 may be that ye dislike 
A thing, and Allah brings about 
Through it a great deal of good. 

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526. Note the fine touch. A sin may he fashionable, and people may sin together 
without compunction. When one of them is faced with Death, lie repents, hut that sort 
of repentance is no good. 

527 Among many nations, including Arabs in the Days of Ignorance, a step-son or 
brother took possession of a dead man’s widow nr widows along with Iris goods and 
chattels. This shameful custom is forbidden. Sec also iv. 22 below. 

528. Another trick, to detract from the freedom of married women was to treat them 
badly and force them to sue for a KhuVa divorce (see ii. 229. n. 25K) nr its equivalent 
m pro- Islamic custom, when the dower could he claimed back. This is also forbidden. 
Or the harshness may he exercised in another way: a divorced woman may he prevented 
by those who have control of her, from re-marrying unless she remits her dower All 
kinds of harshness are forbidden 

- 213 - 

S.4 A. 20-23 J. 4 g\J\ «>l l ,LJl iy- 

20. Bui if yc decide to lake 
One wife in place of another, 

Even if ye had given the latter 
A whole treasure 5 ^ for dower, 
Take not the least hit of il back: 
Would ye lake it by slander 
And a manifest sin? 

21. And how could ye take it 
When ye have gone in 

Unto each other, and they have 
Taken from you a solemn covenant? 

22. And marry not women 
Whom your fathers married, 

Except what is past: 

It was shameful and odious,- 
An abominable custom indeed. 


23. Prohibited lo you 
(For marriage) are:-"' 1 
Your mothers, daughters, 512 
Sisters; father's sisters, 

Mother's sisters; brother's daughters. 
Sister's daughters; foster-mothers su 
(Who gave your suck), foster-sisters; 

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52V. Treasure: Qintdr a Talent of gold: see iii. 14, first note, 

53(1 See above: iv. IV, u, 527. 

53!. This Table of Prohibited Degrees agrees in the main with what is usually 
accepted among all nations, except in minor details. It begins in the last verse (with 
father's widows or divorcees), The scheme is drawn up on the assumption that the person 
who proposes to marry is a man: if ii is a woman, the same scheme wi II apply, muiajis 
mutandis; it will read: "your fathers, sons, brothers/' etc,; or you can always read it from 
the husband's view of relationship, as there must always he u husband in a marriage. 

532, "Mother" includes grandmother (through the father or mother), great 
grandmother, etc.; "daughter” includes grand-daughter (through sou or daughter), great- 
grand daughter, etc.; "sister," includes full-sister and half-sister. “Father's sister” includes 
grandfather's sister, etc., and "mother's sister" includes grandmother's sister, etc. 

533, "Fosterage” or milk-relationships play an important part m Muslim Law. and 
count like blood -relations htps: it would therefore seem that not only foster-mothers and 
foster-sisters, but foster-mother's sister, etc., all come within the prohibited degrees. 

* 214 - 

S.4 A. 23- 24 

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Your wives, mothers; 

Your step-daughters under your 
Guardianship, horn of your wives 
To whom ye have gone in*- 
No prohibition if ye have not gone in:- 
(Those who have been) 

Wives of your sons" 5 proceeding 
From your loins; 

And two sisters in wedlock 
At one and the same time,'* 6 
Except for what is past; 

For Allah is Oft -forgiving. 

Most Merciful;- 

24- Also (prohibited are) 

Women already married t 
Except those 

Whom your right hands possess: 5 * 7 
Thus hath Allah ordained 
(Prohibitions) against you: 

Except for these, all others 
Are lawful, provided 
Ye seek (them in marriage) 

With gifts from your properiy,- 
Desiring chastity, not fornication. 
Give them their dowery 
For the enjoyment you have 

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534. Il is generally held that “under your guardianship" is a description, not a 

535. “Sons" includes grandsons, 

536. The bar against two sisters in marriage together applies to aunt and niece 
together* but not to deceased wife's sister. 

537. Whom ymtr right hands possess: i. e. t captives, 

53K. After defining the prohibited degrees, the verse proceeds to say that women 
other than those specified may be sought in marriage* but even so. mu from motives of 
hist, bm in order to promote chastity between the sexes. Marriage in the original Arabic 
is here described by a word which suggests a fortress (hisn): marriage is* therefore, the 
fortress of chastity. 

-215 - 

S.4 A. 24-25 

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Of them as a duty; but if/ 

After a dower is prescribed, ye agree 
Mutually (to vary it) T 
There is no blame on you. 

And Allah is All-knowing 
All -wise. 

25. If any of you have not 
The means wherewith 
To wed free believing women. 

They may wed believing 
Girls from among those 
Whom your right hands possess 
And Allah hath full knowledge 
About your faith. 

Ye are one from another: 

Wed them with the leave 
Of their owners, and give them 
Their dowers, according to what 
Is reasonable: they should be 
Chaste, not fornicators, nor taking 
Adulterous: when they 
Are taken in wedlock, 

If they commit indecency 
Their punishment is half 
That for free women. 

This (permission) is for those 
Among you who fear sin; 

Bui it is belter for you 
Thai ye practise self* restraint. 

And Allah is Oft- forgiving. 

Most Merciful. 

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53*). As the woman in marriage surrenders her person* so the man also must 
surrender, at least some of lus property according to his means. And ihi^ gives rise to 
the law of Dower, A minimum dower is prescribed, hui it is not necessary to stick to 
the minimum, and in the new relationship created, the parties are recommended to act 
towards each oilier with the greatest confidence and liberality. 

540, That is, captives taken in a Jihad: If you seek such a person in marriage* do 
it from no base motives. Safeguard your faith, and see that she loo does believe. In that 
case, after all* she is of the human brotherhood, and her condition is accidental and 
redeemable. If the slave bore a child to her master, she would became free. 

- 216 - 

S.4 A. 26-29 

26- Allah doth wish 

To make dear to you 
And to guide you into 
The ways of those 
Before you; and (He 
Doth wish to) turn to you 
(In Mercy); and Allah 
Is All-knowing, All-wise. 

27. Allah doth wish 
To turn to you. 

But the wish of those 
Who follow their lusts 
Is that ye should turn 
Away (from 1 lim).- 
Far, far away. 

28. Allah doth wish 

To tighten your (burdens): 

For man was created 
Weak (in resolution). 

() ye who believe! 541 
Eat not up your property 
Among yourselves in vanities: 
But let there be amongst you 
Traffic and trade 
By mutual good- wilt: 

Nor kill (or destroy) 

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54 L Let me paraphrase this verse, for there is profound meaning in it. (I) All your 
property you hold in trust, whether it is in your name, or belongs to the community, 
or to people over whom you have control. To waste is wrong- (2) In ii, 188 the same 
phrase occurred, to caution us against greed. Here n occurs, to encourage us to increase 
property by economic use (traffic and trade), recalling Christ's parable of the Talents 
{Matt, xxv- 14-30), where the servants who had increased their master's wealth were 
promoted and the servant who had hoarded was east into darkness, (3) We are warned 
that our waste may mean our own destruction ("nor kit] or destroy yourselves.' 1 ) But 
there is a more general meaning also: we must be careful of our own and otlier people's 
lives. We must commit no violence. This is the opposite of “trade and traffic by mutual 
good-will." {4) Our violence to our own brethren is particularly preposterous, seeing that 
Allah lias loved and showered His mercies on us and all His creatures. 

- 217 - 

S.4 A,2‘>-33 

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Yourselves: for verily 
Allah hath been to you 
Most Merciful! 

30, If any do that 

In rancour and injustice 
Soon shall We cast him 
Into the Fire: and easy 
It is for Allah. 

31, If vc (but) eschew 
The most heinous 
Of the things 

Which ye are forbidden to da. 

We shall remit 

Your evil deeds, 

and admit you to a Gate 

Of great honour. 

32, And in no wise cover* 

Those things in which Allah 
Hath bestowed His gifts 
More freely on some of you 
Than on others: to men 

Is allotted what they earn, 

And to women what they earn: 
But ask Allah of I Its bounty. 
For Allah hath full knowledge 
Of all things. 

33, Tu (benefit) every one. 

We have appointed 

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542. Men and women have gifts from Allah-some greater than others, they seem 
unequal, hut we are assured that Allah has allotted ihem hy a scheme by which people 
receive what they earn. If this does not appear dear m our sight, let us remember that 
we have no full knowledge hut Allah has, We must not he jealous if other people have 
more than vve have- in wealth or position or strength or honour or talent or happiness. 
Probably things arc equalized in the aggregate or in the long run, or equated to needs 
and merits on a scale which we cannot appraise. If we want more, instead of being jealous 
or covetous, we should pray to Allah and place before Him our needs. Though He knows 
all* and has no need of our prayer, our prayer may reveal to ourselves our shortcomings 
and enable us to deserve more of Allah's bounty or make ourselves fit for it. 

- 218 - 

S.4 A. 33-34 



Sharers anil heirs 543 
To property left 
By parents anil relatives. 

To those, also, to whom 
Your right hand was pledged, 544 
Give their due portion. 

For truly Allah is witness 
To all things, 


34. Men are the protectors 545 
And maintained of women. 

Because Allah lias given 
The one more (strength) 

Than the other, and because 
They support them 
From their means. 

Therefore the righteous women 
Are devoutly obedient, and guard 
In (the husband’s) absence 
What Allah would have them guard. 54 * 

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543, Mawdtf t plural of Mattlti; from the root iva/cj, to be near in place or relationship, 
to follow'. Mania may therefore mean: (I) nearly related, (2) heir. (3) sharer or partner; 
these three meanings are implied here; (4) neighbour, or friend, or protector, or client 
{xliv. 44): (5) lord or master (xvi, 76). 

544 When the emigration took place from Makkah to Madinah. bonds and links of 
brotherhood were established between the Emigrants and the Helpers, and they shared 
in each other’s inheritance. Later, when the Community was solidly established, and 
relations with those left behind in Makkah were resumed, the rights of blood-relations 
in Makkah, and the Helper-brethren in Madinah were both safeguarded, ‘Phis is the 
particular meaning. The more general meaning is similar; respect your lies of blood, of 
neighbourhood, and of friendly compacts and understandings. He just to all. 

545. {JanwflW one who stands firm irt another’s business, protects his interests, and 
Looks after his affairs: or it may he. standing firm in his own business, managing affairs, 
with a steady purpose. Cf. iv. 135. 

546, Or the sentence may be rendered: "and protect (the husband’s interests) in his 
absence, us Allah has protected them. "If we take the rendering as in the text, the 
meaning is: the good wife is obedient and harmonious in her husband's presence, and 
in his absence guards his reputation and property and her own virtue, as ordained by 
Allah. If we take the rendering as in the note, we reach the same result in a different 
way: the good wife, in her husband's absence, remembering how Allah has given her a 
sheltered position, does everything to justify that position by guarding her own virtue and 
his reputation and property. 

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- 219 - 

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As to those women 
Oil whose part ye four 
Disloyalty and ill-conduct. 
Admonish them (first), 

(Next). refuse to share i heir beds, 
(And last) beat them (lightly); 

Bui if they return to obedience. 
Seek not against them* 4 * 

Means (of annoyance): 

For Allah is Most High, 

Great (above you all). 

If ye fear a breach 
Between them twain. 

Appoint (two) arbiters. 

One from his family. 

And the other from liers; M,? 

If they seek to set things aright. 
Allah will cause 
Their reconciliation: 

For Allah hath full knowledge. 
And is acquainted 
With all things. 

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547. In case of family jars four steps art: mentioned, to he taken in that order: (1) 
perhaps verbal advice or admonition may be sufficient; (2) it not, sex relations may he 
suspended; (3) if this is not sufficient, some slight physical correction may he 
administered: but Imam Shall*) considers this inadvisable, though permissible, and all 
authorities are unanimous in deprecating any sort of cruelty, even of the nagging kind, 
as mentioned in the next clause; (4) if all this fails, a family council is recommended in 
iv. 35 below, 

54S Temper, nagging, sarcasm, speaking at each oilier in other people's presence, 
reverting to past faults which should be forgiven and forgot ten, -nil this is forbidden. And 
the reason given is characteristic of Islam, You must live all your life as in the presence 
of Allah. Who is high above us, but Who watches over us. How petty and contemptible 
will our little squabbles appear in His presence! 

549. An excellent plan for settling family disputes, without too much publicity or 
mud- 1 browing, or resort to the eh lean erics of the taw. The Lalin countries recognise this 
plan in their legal systems. It is a pity that Muslims do not resort to it universally, as 
they should The arbiters from each family would know the idiosyneracies of both parties, 
and would he able, with Allah's help to effect a real reconciliation, 


- 220 - 

S.4 A. 36-37 

tAr jAr 


36. Serve Allah, and join not 
Arty partners with Him; 

And do good- 
To parents, kinsfolk. 

Orphans, those in need. 
Neighbours who are of kin 551 
Neighbours who are strangers. 
The Companion by your side, 552 
The way-fare r (ye meet). 

Ami what your right hands possess 

For Allah loveth not 

The arrogant, the vainglorious;- 



37. (Nor) those who are niggardly. 
Enjoin niggardliness on others. 
Hide the bounties 
Which Allah hath bestowed 5 * 5 
On them: for We have prepared. 
For those who resist Faith, 

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550. The essence of Islam is to serve Allah and do good to your fellow-creatures. 
This is wider and more comprehensive than ’'Love God and love your neighbour"', For 
u include* duties to animals as our fellow -creatures, and emphasises practical service 
rather than sentiment. 

551. Neighbours who are near: dial is. in local situation as well as intimate 
relationships, just as neighbours who tire strangers includes those whom wc do not know 
or who live away from us. 

552. The Companion by your side may be your intimate friends and associates, just 
as the way-farer you meet may he a casual acquaintance on your travels. This Iasi is much 
wider than the “stranger within your gate," 

553. 1 1 Vi nr your right hands possess: For x tic meaning of the phrase see n. 537 above. 

554. Real deeds of service and kindness proceed, not from showing off or from a 
superior sort of condescension (cf. "White Man's Burden"), but from a frank recognition 
of our own humility and the real claims, before Allah, of all our fellow-creatures. For 
in our mutual needs wc are equal before Allah, or perhaps the best of us (as the world 
sees us) may be worse than the worst of us (from the same point of view). 

555. Arrogance is one reason why our deeds of love and kindness do not thrive. 
Another is niggardliness or selfishness. Allah does not love either the one or the other, 
for they both proceed from want of love of Allah, or faith in Allah, Niggardly is the 
worldly wise man who not only refuses to spend himself in service, hut by example and 
precept prevents others from doing so. as otherwise he would be made odious by 
comparison, before his fellow-creatures, So lie either makes a virtue of his caution, or 
hides the gifts which have been given him-weafth, position, talent, etc. 

-221 - 

S.4 A, 37-4 1 


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A Punishment that steeps'^ 
Them in contempt 

Nor those who spend 
Of their substance, to he seen 557 
Of men, and have no faith 
In Allah and the Last Day: 

If any take the Satan 
For their intimate. 

What a dreadful intimate lie is! 

And what burden 
Were it on them tf they 
Had faith in Allah 
And in the Last Day, 

And they spent 
Out of what Allah hath 
Given them for sustenance?'** 
For Allah hath full 
Knowledge of them. 

Allah is never unjust 
In the least degree: 

If there is any good (done), 
lie doublet h it, 

And giveth from His Own self 
A great reward.'* 1 ' 

How then if We brought 
From each People a witness, 

And We brought thee 

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556. Note how the punishment fit', the crime. The niggard holds other people in 
contempt, and in doing so, becomes himself contemptible. 

557. A fault opposed to niggardliness, and equally opposed to true Charity, is to 
spend lavishly u> be seen of men. It is mere hypocrisy: there is no love in it, either for 
Allah or for man. 

558. Sustenance: physical, intellectual, spiritual-e very thing pertaining to life and 
growth. Our being is from Allah, and we must therefore spend ourselves freely for Allah 
How can it he a burden? It is merely a response to the demand of our own healthy 

SStf, Any little good of our own comes from the purity ut our heart. Its results in 
the world are doubled and multiplied by Allah's grace and mercy; but an even greater 
reward comes from Him: His good pleasure, which brings us nearer to Him 

; • 






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S.4 A .4 143 


As a witness against 
These Peopled 

42, On that day 

Those who reject Faith 
And disobey the Messenger 
Will wish that the earth 
Were made one with lhem: x, ‘ l 
Bui never will they hide 
A single fact from Allah! 


43, () ye who believe! 

Approach not prayers 

In a state of intoxication 

Until ye can understand 

All that ye say,- 

Nor in a state 

Of ceremonial impurity 

Except when you are 

Passing by (through the mosque). 

Until after washing 

Your whole body . 

If ye are ill. 

Or on a journey. 

Or one of you comet h 
From the privy. 

Or ye have been 
In contact with women. 


^3' csts Op jcV- ty*' 

560. Each Prophet and Leader is a witness for his People and his eon tern poraries-for 
those who accept Allah, and against those who reject llim. 

561 Those who reject Allah's message will wish. when their eyes are opened, that 
they were reduced to dust, tiir existence itself will he agony to them. They might like 
to hide in the dust, bill nothing is hidden from Allah All their past will si,md out dear 
before Him. 

562, The reference is either to a slate of intoxication or to a dazed state of mind 
on account of drowsiness or some other cause. Or perhaps both are implied before the 
prohibition of intoxicants altogether was promulgated, if was at least unbecoming that 
people should come to prayers in such a state For prayers it is only right that we should 
collect our whole minds and approach Allah in a spirit of reverence. 

- 223 - 

S.4 A. 43-46 


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And ye find no water, ' ,A 
Then take for yourselves 
Clean sand {or earth), 

And rub therewith 
Your faces and hands. 

For Allah doth blot out sins 
And forgive again and again. 

44. Hast thou not turned 
Thy thought to those 

Who were given a portion rM 
Of the Book? They traffic 
In error, and wish that ye 
Should lose the right path. 

45. But Allah hath lull knowledge 
Of your enemies: 

Allah is enough for a Protector. 
And Allah is enough for a 1 lelpcr. 

46. Of the Jews there are those 
Who displace words 

From their (right) places. 

And say: "We hear 
And we disobey" ; <f,s 

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563. TTie strictest cleanliness aiul purity of mind and body are required, especially 
at the time of prayer. Hut there are circumstances when water for ablutions is not easily 
obtainable, especially in the dry conditions of Arabia, and then washing with dry sand 
or clean earth is recommended. Four such circumstances are mentioned: the two last when 
washing is specially required; the two first when washing may he necessary, hut it may 
not be easy to get water. For a man, when he is ill, cannot walk out far to gel water, 
and a man on a journey has no full control over his supplies tn all four cases, where 
water cannot be got. cleaning with dry sand or dry earth is recommended, This is called 

564. Cf. iii. 23 and n. 366. 

565. See ii. 4 J3, n. 90* A trick of the Jews was to twist words and expressions, so 
as to ridicule the most solemn teachings of Faith. Where they should have said. "We hear 
and we obey,” they said aloud, "Wc hear," and whispered. “We disobey." Where they 
should have said respectfully "We hear," they added in a whisper, "May you not hear." 
by way of ridicule. Where they claimed the attention of the Prophet, they used an 
ambiguous word apparently harmless, hut iti their intention disrespectful. 

- 224 - 

S.4 A. 46-47 



And “Here* may you not 
Hear;" and "R&'inti*' 5 ** 

With a twist of their tongues 
And a slander to Faith, 

If only they had said: 

'‘We hear and we obey"; 

And “Do hear"; 

And “Do look at us": 

It would have been better 
For them, and more proper; 

But Allah hath cursed them 
For their Unbelief: and but few 
Of them will believe. 

47* O ye People of the Book! 

Believe in what We 
Have (now) revealed* confirming 
What was (already) with you. 

Before We change the face and 


Of some (of you) beyond all 


And turn them hind wards* 

Or curse them as We cursed 
The Sabbath-breakers, 56 * 1 
For the decision of Allah 
Must be carried out. 


566. See h + H14, it, 106. "fldVitd" if used respectfully in the Arabic way, would have 
meant “Please attend to us." With n twist of their tongue* they suggested an insulting 
meaning, such as "O thou that take St us tu pasture!" or in Hebrew, "Our had one!" 

567. Literally* “before We obliterate some features (or faces) and turn them front 
to back (or back to front)": an Arabic idiom, which must be translated freely to yield 
its proper meaning in English- The face is the chief expression of a man's own real 
essence; it is also the index of his fame and estimation- The People of the Book had 
been specially favoured by Allah with revelations. If they proved themselves unworthy, 
they lost their "face". Their eminence would, owing to their own conduct* be turned into 
degradation. Others would lake their place. The first shall he last and the last shall he 
first: Matt. xix. 30. 

S.4 A.4S-5I 

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4H> Allah forgiveili not 

Thai partners should be set up 
With Him; but He forgiveth 
Anything else, to whom 
He pleaseih; to set up 
Partners with Allah 
Is to devise a siir f>9 
Most heinous indeed. 

40, Hast thou not turned 
Thy thought to those 
Who claim purity 
For themselves? 5 ™ 

Nay-hut Allah 
Doth purify 
Whom He pleaseih. 

And they will not be 
Wronged a whit 5 1 

5th Behold! how they invent 
A he against Allah! 

But that by itself 
Is a manifest sin! 


51. Hast thou not turned 
THy thought to those 
Who were given a portion 


Of the Book? They believe 

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569, Just as in an earthly kingdom die worst crime is diut of treason, as it cats at 
the very existence of die Slate, so in the Divine Kingdom, the unforgivable sin is that 
of contumacious treason against Allah by putting up Allah f s creatures in rivalry against 
Him. Ibis is rebellion against the Creator, It is what plato would call the “lie in die soul 1 
But even here, if the rebellion is through ignorance, and is followed by sincere repentance 
and amendment, Allah’s Mercy is always open (iv. 17). 

570. The sanctimonious or selbsanclified people are the farthest from sanctity or 
purity, which can only proceed from Allah, They cannot play with Allah's Truth and yet 
go on claiming to be guided and purified or justified by Allah Their falsehood in itself 
condemn v them: no further proof is needed of their selfishness ami evil 

571, Literally, the small skin in the groove of a date stone, a thing of no value: fatiL 

572. C/. tti. 25 and n. 366, The phrase also occurs in iv, 44, 


- 226 - 

They arc (men) whom 
Allah hath cursed: 

And those whom Allah 
Hath cursed, thou will find 
Have no one to help 


53. Have they a share 
In dominion or power? 

Behold, they give not a farthing 575 
To their fellow-men? 

54* Or do they envy mankind 

For what Allah hath given them 
Of His bounty? But We 
Had already given the people 
Of Abraham the Book 
And Wisdom, and conferred 
Upon them a great kingdom*" f ' 

55. Some of them believed* 

And some of them averted 
Their faces from him: and enough 

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573. The word I have translated Sorcery is jibt, which may mean divination* sorcery, 
magic* o r any false object of belief or worship, such as an idol. The word 1 have 
translated £Vi/ (here and in ii. 256) is T&guh which means the evil one* the one who 
exceeds all bounds, Satan; or it may refer to some idol worshipped by the Pagan Arabs* 
with whom the Jews of Madinah were intriguing against the Holy Prophet* The Jews had 
taken much to sorcery* magic, divination, and such superstitions, 

574. The Jews were then seeking the aid of the Makkan Pagans against Muhammad, 
but far from gening any help from them, they and the Pagans were both overthrown. 
That was the immediate occasion, but the words have a perfectly gencral-a universal- 

575. The word I have translated farthing is naqir, the groove in a date stone, a thing 
of no value whatever. Close-fisted ness and envy are among the worst forms of selfishness, 
and appear specially incongruous in people of power, authority, or influence, from whom 
is expected generosity in giving and generosity in seeing other people’s prosperity or 

576. Such as the kingdoms (if David and Solomon, for they had international fame. 

- 227 - 

S.4 A. 55-59 

.1. 5 .-Ll 

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Is Bell for n burning fire* 

56. Those who reject 

Our Signs. We shall soon 
Cast into the Fire: 

As often us their skins 
Are roasted through. 

We shall change them 
For fresh skins. 

That they may taste 

The Chastisement: for Allah 

Is Exalted in Power, Wise. 

57* But those who believe 

And do deeds or righteousness. 

We shall soon admit to Gardens, 
With rivers flowing beneath,- 
Their eternal home: 

Therein shall they have 

Spouses purified s 

We shall admit them 

To shades, cool and ever deepening V J 

5K. Allah doth command you 
To render hack your Trusts 
To those to whom they arc due; 
And when ye judge 
Between people 
That ye judge with justice; 

Verily how excellent 
Is the teaching which 1 le giveth you! 
For Allah is I lc Who hcareth 
And secth all things. 

59, O yc who believe S 
Obey Allah* and obey 

the Messenger* 

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577. C/ iv U7, viii. 37, ix. 95, ixx. 68. 

578. C/. ii. 25 and n. 44, 

57<) The Garden is contrasted with ihc Fire: the shade is contrasted with the 
roasting* Evil grows with what n feeds on. So goodness and felicity grow with their 

1 1: 

- 228 - 

And i hose charged 
With authority among you ' 

Jf ye differ in anything 
Among yourselves* refer it 
To Allah arid His Messenger, 

If ye do believe in Allah 
And die Last Day: 

That is best, and most suitable 
For final determination, 


60. Hast thou not turned 
Thy thought to those 5 * 1 

Who declare that they believe 
In the revelations 
That have come to thee 
And to those tie fore thee? 

Their (real) wish is 

To resort together for judgment 

(In their disputes) 

To the Evil (Tagut) 

Though they were ordered 
To reject him. 

But Satan's wish 
Is to lead them astray 
Far away (from the Right). 

61. When it is said to them: 

“Come to what Allah hath revealed. 
And to the Messenger": 


580, Ultt~-l‘titnr= those charged with authority or responsibility or decision* or the 
settlement of affairs. All ultimate authority rests in Allah Prophets of Allah derive their 
authority from Him. As Islam makes no sharp division between sacred and secular affairs, 
ii expects governments to he imbued with righteousness. Likewise Islam expects Muslims 
to respect the authority of such government for otherwise die re can he no order or 

58 1 The immediate reference was to the Hypocrites (Mun&fiqftt) of Madinah hut the 
words are general, and the evil of hypocrisy has to be dealt with in alt ages. The type 
of these men is what is called Mr Pacing-bolh-ways in Runyan's “Pilgrim's Progress, 1 ' 
Such men declare that they are always with the Right, hut calmly intrigue with Evil and 
Injustice, and even make Injustice their judge if their personal interests are served in that 

- 229 - 

S,4 A. 61-65 

Thou scest the Hypocrites avert 
Their faces from thee in disgust. 

62. How then, when they are 
Seized by misfortune. 

Because of the deeds 
Which their hands have sent forth? 
Then they come to thee. 

Swearing by Allah; 

“We meant no more 
Than good-will and conciliation!" 

63. Those men -Allah knows 
What is in their heart; 

So keep clear of them 5 *’ 

But admonish them. 

And speak to them a word 
To reach their very souls. 

64. We sent not a Messenger, 

But to be obeyed, in accordance 
With the leave of Allah. 

If they had only. 

When they were unjust 
To themselves. 

Come unto thee 
And asked Allah's forgiveness. 

And the Messenger had asked 
Forgiveness for them. 

They would have found 
Allah indeed Oft-returning, 

Most Merciful 

65. But no by thy Lord, 

They can have 
No (real) Faith, 

Until they make thee judge 

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5K2. How should hypocrites he treated? To take them into your confidence would 
of course he foolish. To wage unrelenting war against them may destroy the hope of 
reforming them and purging them of their hypocrisy The Prophet of Allah keeps dear 
of their wiles, hut at the same time, does not hesitate to show them the error of their 
ways, nor to put in a word in season, to penetrate their hearts and win them back to 

1 ; * 




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- 23U - 

S.4 A. 65-69 


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In all disputes between them. 

And find in their souls 
No resistance against 
Thy decisions, but accept 
Them with the fullest conviction 

If we had ordered them 
To sacrifice their lives 
Or to leave their homes. 

Very few of them 

Would have done i\: m 

But if they had done 

What they were (actually) told. 

It would have been best 

For them, and would have gone 

Farthest to strengthen their (faith): 

And We should then have 
Given them from Ourselves 
A great reward: 

And We should have 
Shown them the Straight Wav 

All who obey Allah 
And the Messenger 
Are in the Company 
Of those on whom 

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583, The test of true E-ail h is not mere lip profession, hut bringing all our doubts 
and disputes to the one in whom we profess faith. Further* when a decision is given we 
are not only to accept it. but find in our inmost souls no difficulty and no resistance, 
but on the contrary a joyful acceptance springing from | tie conviction of our own faith. 

584. Hie highest in faith willingly sacrifice their lives, their homes, and all that they 
hold dearest, in the cause of Allah. Those whose faith is not so strong are expected at 
least to do whar a loyal member of any society does, submit Ins doubts and disputes to 
the head of the society and cheerfully accept his decision and submit to it. The contrast 
is between the I lypocrites who will not even do this, and the really devoted men and 
women who would voluntarily sacrifice their lives. 

5H5. Four advantages of obedience to Allah are mentioned, in the order in which 
they will appeal lo the beginner in faith: (1) his own benefit (“best for them"): (2) 
strengthening of bis faith, as he becomes more and more at borne in the world of faith: 
(3) reward from Allah’s own Presence, sush intense conviction that no further arguments 
are needed: (4) the Straight Way, in which there is no doubt or difficulty whatever in 
our practical conduct. 

- 231 - 

S.4 A. 69-7 1 

J. 5 f ^Ll 

Is the Grace «f Allah 
Of the Prophets (who teach). 

The Sincere (lovers of Truth), 

The marly res* 

And the Righteous (who do good): 
Ah! How beautiful is their Company^' 

70. Such is the Bounty 
iTom Allah: and sufficient 

Is it that Allah knoweth all/* 


71. O ye who believe! 

Take your precautions. 

And either go forth in parties 
Or go forth all together 3401 


5H6. A passage of the deepest devotional meaning. Even the humblest man who 
accepts Faith and does good becomes an accepted member of a great and beautiful 
company in the Hereafter. It is a company which lives perpetually in the sunshine of 
God’s Grace. (This passage partly illustrates 0 i 5), It is a glorious hierarchy, of which 
four grades are specified: (1) The highest is that of the Prophets or Apostles, who get 
plenary inspiration from God, and who teach mankind by example and precept. That rank 
in Islam is held by Muhammand Al- Mustafa. (2) Hie next are those whose badge is 
sincerity and truth: they love and support the truth with their person, their means, their 
influence, and all lhat is theirs, That rank was held by the special Companions of 
Muhammad, among whom the type was that of Hadhrat Abu Baker As-Siddiq, (3) The 
next are the noble army of Witnesses, who testify to the truth. The testimony may be 
by martyrdom. Or it may be by the tongue of the true Preacher or the pen of the devoted 
scholar, or the life of the man devoted to service, (4) Lastly, there is the large company 
of Righteous people, the ordinary folk who do their ordinary business, but always in a 
righteous Way, 

587, If a generous General gives the private soldier the privilege of sitting with his 
comrades and officers, high and low-, in one common Brotherhood* people may perhaps 
wonder: how may this be? If we are admitted to that Company, we want to know r no 
more. It is enough to us that Allah knows our humility and our un worthiness, and with 
His full knowkldge admits us to that glorious Company! 

5H8. No fight should be undertaken without due preparations and precautions. When 
these are taken, we must go boldly forward. “Go forth 4 ' is therefore repeated for 
emphasis. But we must go forth in a collective spirit, and not in a selfish spirit-cither 
in small parties or all together, as our Leader determines. We must not tarry like the 
doubter in the next two verses, 

- 232 * 

S.4 A. 72-74 

J. 5 

72. There are certain fy among you 
Men who would tarry behind: 

If a misfortune befalls you, 

They say: “Allah did favour us 
In that we were not 

Present among them. 1 ’ 

73. But if good fortune comes to you 
From Allah, they would he sure 
To say-as if there had never been 
Tics of affection between you 

and them- 

*"Oh! I wish l had been with them: 
A fine thing should [ then 
Have made of it!” 590 

74. Let those fight 

In the cause of Allah 

Who sell the life of this world 

For the Hereafter. '' 

To him who fighteth 
In the cause of Allah,- 
Whether he is slain 
Or gets vietory- 
Soon shall We give him 
A reward of great (value). 

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589. 1 he doubter detaches himself in thought and action from the community, h the 
general body has a reverse, he blesses Allah ihat he was not among them, instead of 
being ashamed of himself for desertion. If the general body wins a success, lie does not 
rejoice for the common cause, but only regrets for himself that he was not there to share 
in the glory and the gains! 

590. Just a selfish man's thought. Such men are far from being a source of strength 
to their community. They arc no use in u fight, and the next verse by implication discards 

591. It is not every one, -least of all poltroons and faint-hearted persons-who is fit 
to fight in the cause of Allah. To do so is a privilege, and those who understand the 
privilege are prepared to sacrifice all their interests in this life, and this life itself; for 
they know that it is the sacrifice of something fleeting and of little value, for the sake 
of something everlasting, and of immense value. Whether (in appearance) they win or 
lose, in reality they win the prize for which they are fighting,- viz., honour and glory in 
the sight of Allah. Note that the only alternatives here are Death or Victory! The true 
fighter knows no defeat. 

* 233 - 

A. 75-77 

J. 5 

b 5^2 

75. And why should ye not 
Fight in llie cause of Allah 
And of those who, being weak, 3 
Are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- 
Men. women, and children. 

Whose cry is: “Our Lord! 

Rescue us from this town. 

Whose people are oppressors; 

And raise for us from Thee 
One who will protect; 

And raise for ns from Thee 
One who will helpr 5M 

76. Those who believe 

Fight in the cause of Allah, 

And those who reject Faith 
Fight in the cause of Evil (Tagui): 
So fight ye against the 
Friends/’* of Satan: feeble indeed 
Is the cunning of Satan. 


77. Hast thou not turned 
Thy thought to those 

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592. Mastadh ' af — one reckoned weak, ami therefore ill-treated and oppressed. Cf. 
iv, 98, and viL 15(1. 

595. Even from the human point of view the cause of Allah is the cause of justice, 
the cause of the oppressed. In the great persecution, before Makkah was won again, what 
sorrows, threats, tortures, and oppressions, were suffered by those whose faith was 
unshaken? Muhammad's life and that of his adherents was threatened: they were mocked, 
assaulted, insulted and beaten; those within the power of the enemy were pul into chains 
and cast into prison; others were boycotted, and shut out of trade, business, and social 
intercourse; they could not even buy the food they wanted, or perform their religious 
duties. The persecution was redoubled for the believing slaves, women, and children after 
the Hijra! . Their cry for a protector, and helper from Allah was answered when 
Muhammad the Chosen One brought freedom and peace to Makkah again, 

594. Auliyaa plural of wtilL friend, supporter, protector, patron; from the same root 
as mania, for which see iv. 53. n. 543. 

234 - 

S.4 A. 77-78 

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Who were told to hold back 
Their hands (from fight) 

But establish regular prayers 
And spend in regular Zakai? 
When (at length) the order 
For fighting was issued to them 
Behold! a sect ion of them 
Feared men as- 
Or e%'en more than- 
They should have feared Allah: 
They said: "Our Lord! 

Why hast Thou ordered us 
To fight? Wouklst Tlurn not 
Grant us respite 
To our (natural) term, 5% 

Near (enough)? Say: "Short 
Is the enjoyment of this world: 
The Hereafter is the best 
For those who do right: 

Never will ye be 
Deal l with unjustly 
In the very least! 

78. "Wherever ye are. 

Death will find you out, 

Even if ye are in towers 

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595, Before the command lor fig tiling was issued there were some who were 
impatient* 11 mi could scarcely he held back. They wanted fighting from human motives,- 
pugnacity, hatred against their enemies, the gaining of personal ends. Fighting from such 
motives is wrong at alt limes. When the testing time came, and they had to fight, not 
lor their own hand, but for a Sacred Cause, in which there was much suffering and little 
personal gain, the Hypocrites held back and were afraid. 

5%. "Our natural term of life," they would say. “is short enough; why should we 
jeopardize it by fighting in which there is no personal gain?" I he answer is begun in this 
verse and continued in the next. 

Briefly, the answer is: (1) in any case the pleasures of this world are short; this life 
is fleeting: the first thing for a righteous man to do is to emancipate himself from its 
obsessions: (2) to do your duty is to do right: therefore turn your attention mainly to 
duty: (3) when duty calls lor selFsacrificc. be sure that Allah's call is never unjust, and 
never such as to exceed your capacity; and (4) if you fear death, you will not by fear 
escape death: it will find you out wherever you arc: why not face it boldly when duty 

235 - 

"This is from Allah'"; 
But it evil, they say, 

"This is from thee” (O Prophet). 
Say: “All things are from Allah ' T 
But what hath come 
To these people. 

That they fail 
To understand 
A single fact? 

79. Whatever good, (O man!) 
Happens to thee, is from Allah; 
But whatever evil happens 
To thee, is from thyself 
And We have sent thee 
As a Messenger % 

To (instruct) mankind. 

And enough is Allah 
For a witness. 

80, lie who obeys 
The Messenger, obeys Allah: 

But if any turn away. 


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597. The Hypocrites were inconsistent, and in this reflect nn re generate mankind. If 
a disaster happens, due to (heir own folly, they blame somebody else; but if they are 
fortunate, they claim reflected credit by pretending that Heaven lias favoured them 
because of their own superior merits. The modern critic discards even this pretence, 
eliminates Heaven altogether, and claims all credit direct to himself, unless he brings in 
blind Chance, but that lie does mostly to “explain” misfortune. If we look to the ultimate 
Cause of all ihings. all things come from Allah. Hut if we took to the proximate cause 
of things, our own merit is so small, that we can hardly claim credit for good ourselves 
with any fairness. In Allah's hand is all good: iii.2fs, On I lie other hand, the proximate 
cause of our evil is due to some wrong in our own inner selves; for never arc we dealt 
with unjustly in the very least: iv. 77, 

598, To blame a man of God for our misfortunes is doubly unjust. For he comes 
to save us from misfortune, and it is because we flout him or pay no heed to him. that 
our own rebellion, brings iis own punishment. If we realise this truth we shall be saved 
from two sins: (I) the sin of injustice to Allah’s Messengers, who come for our good, 
and not for our harm: (2) the sin of not realising our own shortcomings or rebellion, 
and thus living in spiritual darkness. If the Message is from Allah, that carries its own 
authority: "enough is Allah for a witness." 

- 236 * 

J . 5 


We have not sent thee 
To watch over them 5 ‘ w 

81. They have “Obedience’ 1 
On iheir lips; hut 
When they leave thee, 

A section of them 
Meditate all night 

On things very different 
From what thou tel lest them. 
But Allah records 
Their nightly (plots): 

So keep clear of them, 

And put thy trust in Allah, 
And enough is Allah 
As a disposer of affairs/™ 

82. Do they not ponder on 
The Qur-an? 

Had it been from other 
Than Allah, they would surely 
Have found therein 
Much discrepancy. Nlj 

S S S. y j ^ 

599. Hie Messenger was sent to preach, guide, instruct, and show the Way, -not to 
drive people to good. That is not Allah's Plan, which trains the human Will. The 
Messenger's duty is therefore to convey the Message of Allah, m all the ways of 
persuasion that are open to him. If men perversely disobey that Message, they are not 
disobeying him hut they are disobeying Allah. In the same way those who obey the 
Message are obeying Allah. They are nut obliging the Messenger: they are merely doing 
their duty* 

600. If we trust people who are not true, they are more likely to hinder than to help. 
But Allah is All-good as well as All-powerful, and all our affairs are best entrusted to 
His care. He is the best Guardian of all interests. 

Therefore we should not trust the lip professions of Hypocrites, but trust in Allah. 
Nor should our con fide nee in Allah be shaken by any secret plots that enemies hatch 
against us. We should take all human precautions against them, hut having done so* we 
should pul our trust in Allah. Who knows the inner working of events belter than any 
human mind can conceive. 

601. The unity or the Qur-an is admittedly greater than that of any other sacred 
hook. And yet how can we account for it except through the unity of Allah’s purpose 
and design? From a mere human point of view, we should have expected much 
discrepancy* because (1) the Messenger who promulgated it was not a learned man or 
philosopher, (2) it was promulgated at various times and in various circumstances, and 

\ a l ila-' a \ U 

- 237 - 

S.4 A. 83-84 

J.5 ^Lil ,-L| 

i f I m'imJ I Sj | t-w 

83. When there comes to them 
Some matter touching 
(Public) safety or fear. 

They divulge it. 

If they had only referred it 
To the Messenger or to those 
Charged with authority 
Among them, the proper 
Investigators would have 
Known it from them (direct). 
Were it not for the Grace 
And Mercy of Allah unto you 
All but a few of you 
Would have followed Satan/* 1 * 

84. Then fight in Allah's enuse- 
Thou art held responsible 
Only for thysdf- 
And rouse the Believers. 

It may be that Allah 
Will restrain the fury 
Of the Unbelievers; 

For Allah is the strongest 

In might and in punishment. 


(3) it is addressed to all grades of mankind. Yet, when properly understood, its various 
pieces fit together well even when arranged without any regard to chronological order. 
There was just the One Insptrer and the One Inspired, 

602, In times of war or public panic, thoughtless repetition of gossip is rightly 

restrained by all effective Slates, It false, such news may cause needless alarm: if true, 
it may frighten the, timid and cause some misgiving even to the bravest, because the 
counterpart of it -the preparations made to meet the dangcr-is not known. Thoughtless 
news, true or false* may also encourage I he enemy. The proper course is quietly to hand 
all news direct lo those who are in a position to investigate it. t hey can then sift it and 

take suitable measures to checkmate the enemy. Not to do so, but to deal with news 

cither thoughtlessly or maliciously is to fall directly into the snares of evil 

603. The courage of Muhammad was as notable as Ins wisdom, his gentleness, anil 

his trust in Allah. Facing fearful odds, he often stood alone, and took the whole 
responsibility on himself, But his example and visible trust in Allah inspired and roused 
the Muslims, and also-speaking purely from a human point of view-restrained the fury 
of his enemies. When we consider that he was Allah's inspired Messenger to carry out 
His Plan, we can sec that nothing can resist that Plan. If the enemy happens to have 
strength, power, or resources, Allah's strength, power, and resources are infinitely greater. 

- 238 - 

S,4 A, 85-88 

% t Lm.'Ji * 

Whoever intercedes in 
A good cause 
Becomes y partner therein: 

And whoever recommends 
And helps an evil cause. 

Shares in its burden: 

And Allah hath power** 14 
Over all things. 

When a (courteous) greeting 
Is offered you, meet ii 
With a greeting still more 
Courteous, or (at least) 

Of equal courtesy. 

Allah takes careful account™ 

Of all things. 

Allah! There is no god 
But He: of a surety 
1 le wilt gather you together 
On the Day of judgment. 
About which there is no doubt. 
And whose word can be 
Truer than Allah's? 


88. Why should ye be 

Divided into two parties 


'j CAiilUf J Ci -iQ- 

If the enemy is meditating punishment on the righteous for their righteousness Allah's 
punishmern for such wickedness will be infinitely greater and more effective 

h04. In this fleeting world's chances Allah's providence and justice may not always 
appear plain |o our eyes. But we are asked to believe that if we help and support a good 
cause, we share in all its credit and in its eventual victory. And conversely, we cannot 
support a had cause without sharing in all its evil consequences If appearances seem 
against this faith, lei us not he deceived by appearances. For Allah has power over ah 

h05. The necessary correlative to the command to fight in a good cause is the 
command to cultivate sweetness and cordiality in our manners at all times. For fighting 
is an exceptional necessity while the sweetness of daily human intercourse is a normal 
need. Further, we give kindness and courtesy without asking, and return it if possible in 
even better terms than we received, or at least in equally courteous terms. For we arc 
all creatures of One God, and shall be brought together before Him. 

- 239 - 

J. 5 ^ULl.^Ll 

1 tr \ , , , *J l a j y* 

About the Hypocrites? 606 
Allah hath cast them off 
For their (evil) deeds. 

Would ye guide those 
Whom Allah hath thrown 
Out of the Way? For those 
Whom Allah hath thrown 
Out of the Way, never 
Shalt thou find the Way. 

89. They but wish that ye 
Should reject Faith, 

As they do, and thus be 

On the same footing (as they): 

So take not friends 

From their ranks 

Until they flee 607 

In the way of Allah 

(From what is forbidden). 

But it they turn renegades. 

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hll6. When the desertion of the Hypocrites at Uhud nearly caused u disaster to the 
Muslim cause there was great feeling among the Muslims of Madinah against them. One 
party wanted to put them to the sword: another to leave them alone. The actual policy 
pursued avoided both extremes, and was determined by these verses. It was dear that 
they were a danger to the Muslim community if they were admitted into its counsels, 
and in any case they were a source of demoralisation. But while every caution was used, 
no extreme measures were taken against them. On the contrary, they were given a chance 
of making good. If they made a sacrifice for the cause ("flee from what is forbidden,' 1 
see next verse), their conduct purged their previous cowardice, and their sincerity entitled 
them to he taken back. But if they deserted die Muslim community again, they were 
treated as enemies, with the additional penalty of desertion which is enforced by all 
nations actually at war, Hven so, a humane exception was made in the two cases specified 
in iv. 90. 

007. Five: the verbal form which the noun hijrm is derived. Bukhari interprets this 
rightly as fleeing from all that is forbidden. This would include hijrm in the technical sense 
of leaving a place in which the practice of religion is not allowed. But it is more general. 
In time of war, if a man is willing to submit to discipline and refrain from infringing 
orders issued, he has proved his fidelity and may be treated as a member of the 
community at war. 

On the other hand if he by false pretences comes into the inner counsels merely to 
betray them, he may rightly be treated as a traitor or deserter and be punished for Im 
treason or desertion; or if he escapes, he can be treated as an enemy and is entitled to 
no mercy. He is worse than an enemy: he has claimed to be of you in order to spy tin 
you, and been all the time helping the enemy. 

240 - 

S. 4 A. 89-90 

A, » A - iA* * A * vA , * A * *A# jjW *A# *Aj. iAf g-ft* 

Sei/.e them and slay them 
Wherever ye find them; 

And (in any case) take 
No friends or helpers 
Prom their ranks:- 

Except those who join 
A group between whom 
And you there is □ treaty^ 1 * 

(Of peace), or those who approach* 1 ^ 
You with hearts restraining 
Them from fighting you 
Or fighting their own 
People* If Allah had pleased, 

He could have given them 
Power over you, and they 
Would have fought you: 

Therefore if they withdraw 
From you but fight you not, 

And (instead) send you 
(Guarantees of) peace, then Allah 
I huh opened no way 
For you (to war against them)* 

V&SZ&ptfSi IS 

608* Except: the exception refers to "seize them and slay them", the death penally 
for repeated desertion. Even after such desertion, exemption is granted in two cases. One 
is where the deserter took asylum with a tribe with whom there was a treaty of peace 
and amity. Presumably such a tribe (even though outside the pale of Islam) might be 
trusted to keep the man from fighting against the forces of Islum-in the modern phrase, 
to disarm hint and render him harmless. The second case for exemption is where the man 
from his own heart desires never to take up arms against Islam, though he does not wish 
to join the forces of Islam, to fight against a hostile tribe (perhaps his own) fighting 
against Islam. Rut he must make a real approach, giving guarantees of his sincerity. In 
the modern phrase he would be "on parole". But this provision is much milder than that 
in modern military codes, which grant the privilege only to enemy prisoners, not to those 
who have deserted from the army granting them parole* The Hypocrites were in that 
position, but humanity as well as policy treated them with great leniency, 

609. Approach or come: refers not to the physical act of coming, hut to the mental 
attitude: the heart is mentioned for sincerity When they sincerely promise not to fight 
against you, do not pursue them. Remember that if they had fought against you, your 
difficulties would have been increased. Their neutrality itself may he a great advantage 
to you. So long as you are satisfied that they arc sincere and their acts support their 
declarations of peace with you, you should not consider yourself justified in pursuing them 
and warring against them. 



- 241 - 

S.4 A. l Jl- l >2 

L 5 


t £ !-......'J \ Qjy^i 


91. Others you will find 
Thai wish to be secure 
From you as well 

As l hiit of their people: 

Every lime they are sent back* 10 
To temptation, they succumb 
ITtereto: if they withdraw not 
From you nor give you (guarantees) 
Of peace besides 
Restraining their hands. 

Seize them and slay them 
Wherever ye get them: 

In their case 
We have provided you 
With a dear argument 
Against them. 


92, Never should a Believer 
Kill a Believer; 

Except by mistake, 611 

And whoever kills a Believer 
By mistake 
It is ordained that lie 
Should free a believing slave. 

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610. As opposed to the two classes of deserters to whom clemency may he shown, 
there is a class which is treacherous and danger oils and cannot he left alone. They 1 ry 
to win your confidence, and arc all the time in the confidence of the enemy. Every time 
they gel a chance, they succumb to the temptation of double-dealing. The best way of 
dealing with them is to treat them as open enemies. Keep them not in your midst. If 
they give you guarantees of peace and do not actually light against you* well and good* 
11 tun. they are deserters actively fighting in the ranks of the enemy, they have openly 
given you proof, and you can fairly seize and slay diem in war as deserters and enemies. 

611. Life h absolutely sacred: in the Islamic Brotherhood* Hut mistakes will 
sometimes happen, as did happen in the melee at Uhud, when sonic Muslims were killed 
(being mistaken for the enemy) by Muslims. There was no guilty intention; therefore there 
was no murder. But all the same, the family of the deceased was entitled to compensation 
unless they freely remitted it, and in addition it was provided that the unfortunate man 
who made the mistake should free a believing slave. Thus a deplorable mistake was made 
the occasion for winning the liberty of a slave who was a Believer, for Islam 
discountenances slavery. The compensation could only he paid if the deceased belonged ; 

■*— — wmm m — \ — — 

* 242 - 

And pay blood-money 
To she deceased's family, 

Unless they remit it freely. 

If the deceased belonged 
To a people at war with you. 

And he was a Believer, 

The freeing of a believing slave 
(K enough). If he belonged 
To a people with whom 
Ye have a treaty of mutual 
Alliance, hUiod-numey should 
Be paid to his family. 

And a believing slave be freed. 

For those who find this 

Beyond their means, (is prescribed) 

A fast for two months 

Running: by way of repentance 

To Allah: for Allah hath 

All knowledge and all wisdom. 

If a man kills a Believer 
Intentionally, his recompense 61 " 

Is Hell, to abide therein 
(For ever): and the wrath 

to ;i Muslim society or to some people at peace with the Muslim society. Obviously it 
could not be paid if, though the deceased was a Believer, his people were at war with 
the Muslim society: even it his people could be reached, it is not fail to increase the 
resources of the enemy. If the deceased was himself an enemy at war. obviously the laws 
of war justify bis being killed in warfare unless he surrendered. If the man who took life 
unintentionally has no means from which to free a believing slave or to give 
compensation, he must still by an act of strict self-denial (fasting for two whole months 
running) show that he is cognizant of the grave nature of the deed he has done and 
sincerely repentant, I take this to apply to all three cases mentioned: that is. where a 
Believer killed a Believer unintentionally and the deceased (I) belonged 10 the same 
community as you, or (2) belonged to a community at war with you, or (3) belonged 
to a community in alliance with you. 

612. What is mentioned here is the punishment in the Hereafter. The legal 
consequences, enforceable by human society, are mentioned in ii. 178. under the rules 
of Qisds, That is, a life should be taken for a life destroyed, but this should be on a 
scale of equality: a single murder should not commit a whole tribe to a perpetual blood- 
feud. as in the days of ignorance. But if the heirs of the man slain accept reasonable 
compensation, this should be accepted, and the taking of a life for a life should be put 
a stop to. This course leads to the saving of life, and is commanded to men of 

- 243 * 

A. 93-95 

^Aj 4 



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And the curse of Allah 
Arc upon him, and 
A dreadful chastisement 
Is prepared for him, 

O ye who believe! 

When ye go out 613 
In the cause of Allah, 
Investigate carefully. 

And say not to any one 
Who offers you a salutation: 
'Thou art none of a Believer! 11 
Coveting the perishable goods 
Of this life: with Allah 
Are profits and spoils abundant. 
Even thus were ye yourselves 
Before, till Allah conferred 
On you His favours: therefore 
Carefully investigate. 

For Allah is well aware 
Of all that ye do. 

95. Not equal are those 

Believers who sit (at home). 
Except those who are disabled. 
And those who strive 
And light in the cause 
Of Allah with their goods 
And their persons. 

Allah hath granted 
A grade higher to those 
Who strive and fight 

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613. Go abroad: dharaba = to travel, lo go for jihad, or for honest trade or other 
service, which if done with pure motives, counts as service in the cause of Allah, The 
immediate occasion was in connection with jihad, but the words are general* and can he 
applied to similar circumstances. In war (or in peace) we are apt to catch some worldly 
advantage by pluming ourselves on our superiority in Faith, In war perhaps we want lo 
gain glory or booty by killing a supposed enemy. This is wrong. The righteous man, if 
he is really out in Allah's service, has more abundant and richer gifts to think of in the 
I lereaficr. 

- 244 - 

S.4 A. *>5-97 

J. 5 j-ULl 

1 tL«Jt 

With their goods and persons 
Thun to those who sil (at home). 
Unto afi (in Faith)* 14 
Hath Allah promised good: 

But those who strive and fight 
I lath He distinguished 
Above those who sit (at home) 
By a great reward.- 

96. Ranks specially bestowed 
By Him and Forgiveness 
And Mercy. For Allah is 
Oft-forgiving. Most Merciful. 


97. When angels take 
The souls of those 
Who die in sin 
Against their souls.* 1 s 

614. Allah’s goodness is promised to all people of Faith But there are degrees among 
men and women of Faith, 111 ere are people with natural inertia: they do the minimum 
that is required of them, hut no more. There are people who are weak in will: they are 
easily frightened. There are people who are so strong in will and so firm in faith that 
they are determined to conquer every obstacle, whether in their own physical or other 
infirmities or in the external world around them. In a time of jihad., when people give 
their all. and even their lives, for the common cause, they must he accounted more 
glorious than those who sit at home, even though they have good will to the cause and 
carry' out minor duties in aid. The special reward of such self-sacrifice is special 
forgiveness and mercy, as proceeding from the direct approbation and love of Allah. 

615. The immediate occasion for this passage was the question of migration (hijrat) 
from places where Islam was being persecuted and suppressed. Obviously the duty of 
Muslims was to leave such places, even if it involved forsaking their homes, and join and 
strengthen the Muslim community among whom they could live in peace and with whom 
they could help in fighting the evils around them. But the meaning is wider, Islam does 
not say: "Resist not eviL" On the contrary it requires a constant, unceasing struggle 
against evil. For such struggle it may he necessary to forsake home and unite and organise 
and join our brethren in assaulting and overthrowing the fortress of evil. For the Muslim’s 
duty is not only to enjoin good hut to prohibit evil. To make our assault we must he 
prepared to put ourselves m a position from which such assault would he possible, and 
Allah's earth is spacious enough for the purpose. "Position" includes not only local 
position, hut moral and material position. For example, we must shun evil company where 
we cannot put it down, but organise a position front which we can put it down. 

- 245 - 

A .97- 

They say: “In what (plight) 

Were ye?’* They reply: 

“Weak and oppressed 
Were we in llie earth". 

They say: “Was nm 
The earth of Allah 
Spacious enough for you 
To move yourselves away 
(From evil)?” Such men 
Will find their abode 
in HelL-What an evil Refuge!- 

98. Except those who are 
(Really) weak and oppressed- 
Mcn, women, and children 
Who have no means 

In their power, nor can they find 
A way (to escape) 616 

99. For these, there is hope 
That Allah will forgive: 

For Allah doth blot out (sins) 
And forgive again and again. 

100. lie who forsakes his home 
In the cause of Allah, 

Finds in the earth 

Many a refuge. 

And abundance 

Should he die 

As a refugee from home 

For Allah and 1 I is Messenger, 

His reward becomes due 
And sure with Allah: 

And Allah is Oft forgiving 
Most Merciful. 

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616. H through physical, mental, or mural incapacity, we are unable to light the good 
fight, we must nevertheless guard ourselves from it. Allah's gracious Mercy will recognise 
and forgive our weakness if it is real weakness, and not merely an excuse. 

yfc J v * ? V 

- 246 - 

S.4 A. 101-102 

J. 5 

101 When ye travel 
Through the earth. 

There is no blame on you 

If ye shorten your prayers, 61 ' 

For fear the Unbelievers 
May attack you: 

For the Unbelievers arc 
Unto you open enemies. 

102 When thou (O Messenger) 

Art with them, and standest 
To lead them in prayer. 

Let one party of them 

Stand up (in prayer) with thee. 
Taking their arms with them: 
When they finish 
Their prostrations, let them 
Take their position in the rear. 
And let the other parly come up 
Which hath not yet prayed- 
And lei them pray with thee. 
Taking all precautions. 

And hearing arms: 

The Unbelievers wish. 

If ye were negligent 

Of vour arms and your baggage. 

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617, Verse 101 gives permission to shorten four Rak*at prayers when people are cm 
a journey: verses 102-104 deal with eases when they are in danger at war. in face of the 
enemy. The shortening of prayers in both cases is further governed as to details by the 
practice of the Messenger and his Companions, As to journeys* two questions arise: (l) 
what constitutes a journey for this purpose? (2) is the fear of an attack an essential 
condition for the shortening of the prayers? As to (!). it is best to leave the matter to 
discretion, having regard to all the circumstances of the journey, as in the case of the 
journeys which excuse a fast: see ii. 184, n. 190. The text leaves it to discretion. As to 
(2), the practice of the Prophet shows that danger is not an essential condition; it is 
merely mentioned as a possible incident. The Messenger usually shortened the prayers 
born four Ruk’ats to two Rak'ais in Zuhr (midday prayer), VUr (afternoon prayer) and 
hhau (night prayer): the other two are in any case short, Fajr (morning prayer) having 
two Rak'ais and Magrib (evening prayer) having three. 

- 247 - 

S.4 A. 102-1(14 

J. 5 

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To assault you m a single rush. 611 * 
But there is no blame on you 
If ye pul away your arms 
Because of the inconvenience 
Of rain or because ye are ill; 

Bui lake (every) precaution 
For yourselves. For the Unbelievers 
Allali hath prepared 
A humiliating punishment. 

103. When ye have performed 619 
The prayers. 

Remember Allah, 

Standing, sitting down, 

Or lying down on your sides; 

But when ye arc free 
From danger, set up 
Regular Prayers: 

For such prayers 

Are enjoined on Believers 

At stated times. 

104. And slacken nut 

In following up the enemy: 

If ye are suffering hardships. 

They arc suffering similar 
Hardships: but you 

fvt} itSZ. I f I X'.Y' V. 

6 IK. The congregation at prayer in danger in face of the enemy rests on I he principle 
that the congregation should be divided into two parlies; one party prays while the other 
watches the enemy, and then the second parly comes up to prayers while the first falls 
back to face the enemy; either party does only one or two Rak T ats, or about half the 
congregational prayer; every precaution k taken to prevent a rush by the enemy; even 
while at prayers armour and arms need not be put off except when rain is likely to cause 
inconvenience to the wearer and damage to the arms, or when illness or fatigue causes 
the wearer's strength to fail. Details can be varied according to circumstances, as was 
actually done by the Prophet at different times. 

619. It means: +L when ye have finished congregational prayers.' 1 It allows you to 
remember Allah Individually in any posture possible during the danger. But when the 
danger is past, the full prayers should be offered at the stated times. 

- 248 - 

S.4 A. 104-107 

J. 5 

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Hope from Allah, what they** 1 
Have not. And Allah 
h full of knowledge and wisdom. 


105. We have sent down 

To thee the Book in truth , 

That thou mightesi judge 
Between people by that which 
Allah has shown thee; so be not 
An advocate for those 
Who betray their lrusl; h:i 

106. But seek the forgiveness 
Of Allah; for Allah is 
Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. 

107. Contend not on behalf 
Of such as betray 
Their own souls f 22 

33 u- 

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620. Religion should be a source of strength and not of weakness in all our affairs. 

If we have to struggle hard and suffer hardships, those without faith have to do the same, 
with this difference, that the man of Faith is full of hope in Allah, whereas the man 
without Faith has nothing to sustain him. 

621 The Commentators explain this passage with reference to the ease of Talma ibn 
Uhairaq, who was nominally a Muslim hut really a Hypocrite, and given to all sons of 
wicked deeds. He was suspected of having stolen a set of armour, and when the trial 
was hot. he planted the stolen property into the house of a Jew. where it was found. 
The Jew denied the charge and accused Ta'ima, but the sympathies of the Muslim 
community were with fa'iina on account of his nominal profession of Islam. The case 
was brought to the Prophet, who acquitted the Jew according to the strict principle of 
justice, as "guided by Allah.* 1 Attempts were made to prejudice him and deceive him into 
using his authority to favour TiFuna, When Ta'ima realized that his punishment was 
imminent he fled and turned apostate. 

The general lesson is that the righteous man is faced with all sorts of subtle wiles: 
the wicked wall try to appeal to his highest sympathies and most honourable motives to 
deceive hint and use him as an instrument for defeating justice. He should be careful and 
cautious, and seek the help of Allah for protection against deception and for firmness 
in dealing the strictest justice without fear or favour. To do otherwise is to betray a sacred 
trust: the trustee must defeat all attempts made to mislead him 

622. Our souls are a sort of trust with us. We have to guard them against all 
temptation* Those who surrender to crime or evil, betray that trust. We are warned 
against being deceived into taking their part, induced either by plausible appearances, or 
by such incentives to partiality as that they belong to our own people or that some link ; 

- 249 ~ 

$.4 A. 107-11(1 J.5 ^Li-U-jLl i.LJlijj- 

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For Allah loveth not 
Gnu given to perfidy 
And sin:- 

108. They seek to hide themselves 
From the people 

But they cannot hide 
From Allah, while 
He is with them 
When they plot by night. 

In words that He cannot 
Approve: and Allah 
Doth compass roimd flM 
All that they do. 

109. Ah! these are the sort 
Of men on whose behalf 

Ye may contend in this world: 
But who will contend with Allah 
On their behalf on the Day 
Of Judgment, or who 
Will carry their affairs through? 

110. If any one does evil 

Or wrongs his own soul 
But afterwards seeks 
Allah’s forgiveness, he will find 
A llali Oft-forgiving, 

Most Merciful. 

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^connects them with us, whereas when we .ire out to do justice, we must not allow any 
irrelevant considerations to sway us. 

623. The plots of sinners are known fully to Allah, and lie can fully circumvent them 
if necessary, according to the fulness of Tlis wisdom. The word used is: Compass them 
round: Mtikit; not only does Allah know all about it, hut He is all round It: if in His 
wisdom He allows it, it is not because He has not complete control over it, but because, 
having it as it were enclosed in a complete circle. He can use it to further His own Flan, 
liven out of evil He can bring good. 

- 250 - 

S.4 A. II I-l 13 

1 sjjt— 

L And if any one earns 
Sin, he earns ii against 
His own soul: for Allah 
Is full of knowledge and wisdom. 

112, But if any one earns 
A fault or a sin 

And throws it on to one 
Thai is innocent. 

He carries (on himself) 

(Both) a false charge 
And a flagrant sin. 


113, But for the Grace of Allah 
To thee and His Mercy, 

A party of them would 
Certainly have plotted 
To lead thee astray. 

But (in fact) they will only 
Lead their own souls astray. 

And to thee they can do 
No harm in the least. 

For Allah hath sent down 
To thee the Book and Wisdom 
And taught thee what thou 
K newest not (before): 

And great is the Grace 
Of Allah unto thee. 

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624. Kasabu = to earn, to gain, to work for something valuable, to lay up a provision 
for the future life. We do a day's labour to earn our livelihood: so in a spiritvial sense, 
whatever good or evil we do in this life, earns us good or evil in the life to come. In 
verses 110-112 three eases are considered: (1) if we do ill and repent, Allah will forgive; 
(2) if we do ill and do not repent: thinking that we can hide it, we are wrong: nothing 
is hidden from Allah, and we shall suffer the full consequences in the life to come, for 
we can never evade our personal responsibility: (3) if wc do ill. great or small, and impute 
it to another, our original responsibility for the ill remains, but we add to it something 
else; for we lie round our necks the guilt of falsehood, which converts even our minor 
fault into a great sin, and in any case brands us even in this life with shame and ignominy. 

- 251 - 

S.4 A. 114-1 16 

14, In most of their secret talks 
There is no good: but it 
One exhorts to a deed 
Of charity or goodness 
Or conciliation between people 
(Secrecy is permissible): 

To him who docs this. 

Seeking the good pleasure 
Of Allah, We shall soon give 
A reward of the highest (value) 

If anyone contends with 
The Messenger even after 
Guidance has been plainly 
Conveyed to him, and follows 
A path other than that 
Becoming to men to Faith, 

We shall leave him 
In the path he has chosen. 

And land him in Hdl,- 
What an evil refuge! 




16. Allah fond vet h not 

(The sin of) joining other gods 


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625. Usually secrecy is for evil ends, or from questionable motives, or because the 
person seeking secrecy is ashamed of himself and knows that if his acts or motives became 
known, he would make himself odious. Islam therefore disapproves of secrecy and loves 
and enjoins openness in ail consultations and doings. But there are three things m which 
secrecy is permissible, and indeed laudable, provided the motive be purely unselfish, to 
earn “the good pleasuie ot Allah": (1) jf you are doing a deed of charily or beneficence, 
whether in giving material things or in helping in moral, intellectual, or spiritual matters; 
here publicity may not be agreeable to the recipient of your beneficence, and you have 
to think of his feelings; (2) where an unpleasant act of justice or correction has to be 
done; this should be done, hut there is no virtue in publishing it abroad and causing 
humiliation to some parties or adding to their humiliation by publicity; (3) where there 
is a delicate question of conciliating parties to a quarrel; they may be very touchy about 
publicity hut quite amenable to the influence of a man acting in private, 

626. C/, iv. 48 and n. 569. Blasphemy in the spiritual kingdom is like treason in the 
political kingdom 

- 252 - 

S.4 A, lift- 119 

11 K. 


Wilh Him; but He forgive th 
Whom He pie use th other sins 
Than this: one who joins 
Other gods with Allah, 

Hath strayed far, far away 
(From the Right). 

(The Pagans), leaving Him, 
Call hut upon female deities:' 12 
They call but upon Satan 
The persistent rebel! 

Allah did curse him, 

But he said: "I will take 
Of Thy servants a portion' 0 * 
Marked off: 

“I will mislead them,* 29 
And I will create 
In them false desires; l will 
Order them to slit the cars' 1 ™ 
Of cattle, and to deface 

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627. The unity, power, and goodness of Allah are so manifest in nature anti in the 
human mind when it is in accord with the universal spirit, that only the most abject 
perversion can account for the sin of religious treason. That sin arises from perverted 
ideas of sex or perverted ideas of self. The perversion of sex is to suppose that sex rules 
in religious matters. From it arise such horrible creations of the imagination as kali, the 
blood-thirsty goddess of India* or Hecate, the goddess of revenge and hale in Greek 
mythology. Even in beautiful forms like Saraswati (the goddess of learning) or Minerva 
(the virgin goddess of sport and arts), to say nothing of Venus (the goddess of carnal 
pleasures), the emphasis laid on sex destroys a right view of religious nature. Perverted 
ideas of seif are typified in the story of Satan, who was so puffed up with arrogance that 
he disobeyed Allah, and Allah cursed him Both these perversions, if allowed lodgment, 
completely ruin our religious nature and deface Allah's handiwork. Hence it is not merely 
an outer sin but one that corrupts us through and through. 

62?t. Satan obtained Allah's permission to tempt man. and this was implied in such 
free-wilt as was granted to man by Allah, Satan's boast is that the portion of mankind 
seduced by him will be so corrupted in their nature that they will bear a son of brand 
that wilt mark them off as his own; or that they will be like a portion assigned to himself* 

b29. Satan's deceptions are with false desires* false superstitions* and false fears. 

Slitting the ears of cattle is just one instance of the superstitions to which men 
become slaves when they run after false gods. Astrology, magic, and vain beliefs in things 
ihai do not exist lead men away from Allah, the one true God. 

- 253 - 

S.4 A. 119-123 

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The (fair) nature created* 11 
By Allah/’ Whoever, 

Forsaking Allah, lakes Satan 
For a friend, hath 
Of a surety suffered 
A loss that is manifest. 

1 20, Satan makes them promises. 

And creates in them false hopes, 

But Satan's promises 

Are nothing but deception. 

12 l. They (his dupes) 

Will have their dwelling 
In Nell, and from it 
They will find no way 
Of escape, 

122, But those who believe 

And do deeds of righteousness ,- 
Wc shall soon admit them 
To Gardens, with rivers 
Flowing beneath, -to dwell 
Therein for ever, 

Allah's promise is the truth. 

And whose word can be 
Truer than Allah’s? 

123. Not your desires, nor those* 13 
Of the People of the Book 

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631. To deface the (fair) nature created by Allah; there is both a physical and a 
spiritual meaning. We see many kinds of defacements practised on men and animals, 
against their true nature as created by Allah, partly on account of superstition, partly on 
account of selfishness. Spiritually the case is even worse. How many natures are dwarfed 
or starved and turned from their original instincts by cruel superstitions or customs? Allah 
created man pure: Satan defaces the image. 

632. Personal responsibility is again and again insisted on as the key-note of Islam. 

In this are implied faith and right conduct. Faith is not an external thing: it begins with 
an act of will, hut if true and sincere, it affects the whole being, and leads to right 
conduct. In this it is distinguished from the kind of faith which promises salvation because 

some one else in whom you are asked to believe* has borne away the sins of men, or 

the kind of faith which says that because you arc born of a certain race (“Children of 

Abraham*') or a certain caste, you are privileged, and your conduct will lie judged by 

- 254 - 

S,4 A, 123- 127 

J. 5 ^UU 

(Can prevail): whoever 
Works evil, will be 
Requited accordingly. 

Nor will he find, besides Allah, 
Any protector or helper. 

124. If any do deeds 
Of righteousness, - 

Be they male or female- 
And have faith. 

They will enter Heaven, 

And not the least injustice 611 
Will he done to them, 

125. Who can be better 
In religion than one 

Who submits Ins whole self 
To Allah, does good. 

And follows the way 
Of Abraham the true in faith? 
For Allah dill take 
Abraham for a friend/’ 14 

12b. But to Allah belong all things 
In the heavens and on earth: 
And I fe it is that 
En com passe th all things/' 1 


127. They ask thy instruction 
Concerning the Women. 

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a different standard from that of other men Whatever you are, if you do evil, you must 
suffer the consequences, unless Allah's Mercy comes to your help, 

633. Naqir — the groove in a date-stone, a thing of no value whatever, Cf n. 575 
lo iv. 53. 

634. Abraham is distinguished in Muslim theology with the title of ' Frcind of Allah". 
Tills does not of course mean that he was anything more than a mortal. But his faith 
was pure and true, and his conduct was firm and righteous in all circumstances. He was 
the fountainhead of the present monotheistic tradition, the Patriarch of the prophetic 
line, and is revered alike by Jews. Christians and Muslims. 

635. A hilt ft. Cf iv. 10K, and n. 623. 


- 255 * 

S.4 A. 127-128 

J. 5 ,;JL I 

Say: Allah doth 
Instruct you about them: 

And {remember) what hath 
Been rehearsed unto you 1 r 
In the Book, concerning 
The orphaned women to whom 
Ye give not the portions 
Prescribed, and yet whom yc 
Desire to marry, as also 
Concerning the children 
Who are weak and oppressed: 6 ’ 17 
That ye stand firm 
For justice to orphans. 

Tit ere is not a good deed 
Which ye do, but Allah 
Is well-acquainted therewith. 

128. If a wife fears 

Cruelly or desertion 
On her husband's pan, 

There is no blame on them 
If they arrange 
An amicable settlement 
Between themselves; 

. * ^ ^ 


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636. Again and again is it impressed on the community of Islam to be just in their 
dealings with women f orphans, children, and all whose weakness requires special 
consideration. The law about widows and orphans, i inheritance, dower, and marriage had 
already been declared in iv. 2-35 and further instructions are now given on a further 
reference. It was not right that anyone should lake advantage of their helpless position 
to deprive them of dower or of their portion in inheritance. 

637 r C/, iv. 75. n, 592. 

Hoth widows and orphans are to be helped because they are ordinarily weak, ill- 
treated, and oppressed. In communities which base their civil rights on brute strength, 
the weaker go to the wall, and public opinion expects nothing else. In Nietzsche’s 
philosophy of the Superman that doctrine is stressed strongly, and some of the militarist 
nations in our own time seem inclined to support this reversion to our primitive instincts. 
Even in modern democracies of the saner sort, we are often told that it is the fate of 
minorities to suffer; strength of numbers here becomes the passport to pnw r er and 
privilege. Islam, while upholding sane manly views in general, enjoins the most solicitous 
care for the weak and oppressed in every way-in rights of property, lit social rights, and 
in the right to opportunities of development. Spiritual strength or weakness does not 
necessarily go with physical or numerical strength. 


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* 256 - 

S.4 A, 128-130 

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And such settlement is best; 
Even ! hough men's souls 
Are swayed by greed 
But if ye do good 
And practise self-restraint* 

Allah is well-acquainted 
With all that ye do. 

129. Ye are never able 
To do justice 
Between wives 
Even if il is 
Your ardent desire: 

But turn not away 

(From a woman) altogether. 

So as to leave her (as it were) 
Hanging (in the air), 639 
if ye come to a friendly 
Understanding, and practise 
Self-restraint, Allah is 
Oft- fo rg i v in g , M osl M e rc i fu 1 

130. Bui if they separate 

Allah will provide abundance 
For each of them from His 
All-reaching bounty: 

For Allah is He 
That caret h for all 
And is Wise. 

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638. To protect the woman's economic interests, various rules lire prescribed for 
dower in marriage. But the sanctity of marriage itself is greater than any economic 
interests. Divorce is, of all things permitted, most hateful to Allah. Therefore if a breach 
between husband and wife can be prevented In some economic consideration, it is better 
in make that concession than to imperil the future of the wife, the children, and probably 
the husband also. Such concessions are permissible, in view of the love of wealth 
ingrained in tmregenerate man, bin a recommendation is made that we should practise 
self-restraint, and do what we can to come to an amicable settlement without any 
economic sacrifice on the part of the woman. 

639, In i his material world there are two principle causes of division between man 
and wife, money and M ihe other woman” or 'the other man**. Money was dealt with in 
the last verse. Here is the case of "the other woman". Legally more than one wife (up 
to four) are permissible on the condition that the man can be fair and just to all. 

- 257 - 

S.4 A, 131-132 

To Allah belong nil things 
In the heavens and on earth. 0 
Verily We have directed 
The People of the Book 
Before you, and you {O Muslims) 
To fear Allah, But if ye 
Deny Him, lo! unto Allah 
Belong all things 
In the heavens and on earth. 

And Allah is free 
Of all wants, worthy 641 
Of all praise. 

Yea, unto Allah belong 
All tilings in the heavens 
And on earth, and enough 
Is Allah to carry through 6 
All affairs. 

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640, Notice the refrain: “To Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth": 
repealed three times, each time with a new application. In the first instance it follows 
the statement of Allah’s universal providence and love. If two persons, in spite of every 
sincere desire to love and comfort each other, fail to achieve that end, and have to 
separate, Allah’s all- reaching bounty never fails, for He is the Lord of all things. In the 
second instance it is connected with Allah's Self-existence, Self-excellence, and 
independence of all creatures: all His commands are for our good, and they are given 
to all His creatures, according to their capacities. In the third instance, it is connected 
with His universal power; for He could destroy any individual or nation and create a new 
one without any loss to Himself; but He gives a chance to all again and again, and even 
rewards them beyond their own ambitions, 

ML Allah’s existence is absolute existence. It docs not depend on any Other person 
or any other thing. And it is worthy of all praise, for u is all-good and comprises every 
possible excellence. It is necessary to stress ihis point in order to show that the moral 
law for man is not a mere matter of transcendental commands, but really rests on the 
essential needs of mankind itself. If therefore such schools of thought as Behaviourism 
proved their theories up to the hih. they do not affect the position of Islam in the least. 
The highest ethical standards are enjoined by Islam, not as dogmatic imperatives, lun 
because they can be shown to follow from the needs of man’s nature and the results of 
man’s experience, 

M2. This refers to the next verse. He does not need us. but we need Him. Our 
hopes, our happiness, our success centre in Him; but He is Self-sufficient- He has the 
power to supersede us, but His goodness is ever seeking to give us every chance in this 
world us well as in the Hereafter. 

- 258 - 

S.4 A- 133-135 

133. If it were His Will. 

He could destroy you, 

() mankind, and create 
Another race; for He 
Hath power this to do. 

134. If any one desires 

A reward in this life. 

In Allah's (gift) is the reward 
(Both) of this life 
And of the Hereafter: 643 
For Allah is He that heard h 
And seeth (all things). 


135. O ye who believe! 

Stand out firmly 

I or justice, as witnesses 
To Allah, even as against 
Yourselves, or your parents. 

Or your kin, and whether 
It be (against) rich or poor:** 45 
For Allah can best protect both. 


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M3. Man in this life can only see up to the horizon of this life, Th e highest rewards 
which his wishes or ambitions can conceive of are conceived in the terms of this life. But 
Allah can give him not only these hut something infinitely higher, -the rewards of the 
Herea her, -which it did not even enter his heart to ask for or his imagination to conceive. 

644. Justice is Allah's attribute, and to stand firm lor justice is to be a witness to 
Allah, even it it is detrimental to our own in le rests (as we conceive them) or the interests 
of those who are near and dear to us. 

Islamic justice is something higher than the formal justice of Roman Law or any other 
human Law. It is even more penetrative than the subtler justice in the speculations of 
the Greek philosophers. It searches out the innermost motives, because we are to act as 
in the presence of Allah, to whom all things, acts, and motives are known. 

645. Some people may he inclined to favour the rich, because they expect something 
from them. Some people may be inclined to favour the poor because they are generally 
helpless. Partiality in either case is wrong. Be just, without fear or favour, 13m Iv the riel] 
and the poor are under Allah's protection as far as their legitimate interests are 
concerned, but they cannot expect to be favoured at the expense of others. And He can 
protect their interests fur better than any man. 

- 259 - 

S.4 A. 135*137 

iAc tA* 



Follow not the lusts 
(Of your hearts), lest ye 
Swerve, and if ye 
Distort (justice) or decline 
To do justice, verily 
Allah is well-acquainted 
With all that ye do* 

O ye who believe! 

Believe in Allah 
And His Messenger, 

And the scripture which He 
Hath sent to His Messenger 
And the scripture which He sent 
To those before (hiin). Mtl 
Any who denictli Allah, 

His angels. His Books, 

His Messengers, and the Day 
Of Judgment, hath gone 
Far, far astray. 

Those who believe. 

Then reject Faith, 

Then believe (again) 

And (again) reject Faith* 

And go on increasing 

In Unbelief, -Allah 

Will not forgive them 

Nor guide them on the Way* 647 

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646. If your belief is by habit or birth or the example of those you love or respect 
or admire, make that belief more specific and personal to yourself. We must not only 
have faith, but realise that faith in our inmost being. The chief objects of our Faith arc 
Allah II is Messenger, and It is Revelations , To all these we must give a home in our 
hearts. The angels we do not see and realise as we realise Allah, who is nearer to us 
than the vehice of our life-blood, and the Day of Judgment is for our future experience, 
but wc must not deny them, or we cut off a part of our religious view. 

647. Those who go on changing sides again and again can have no real Faith at any 
time. Their motive* are mere worldy double-dealing. How can they expect Allah's grace 
or forgiveness? 

Here is a dear warning against those who make their religion a mere matter of 
worldly convenience. True religion goes far deeper, 1( transforms the very nature of man. 
After (hat transformation it is as impossible for him to change as it is for light to become 

- 260 - 

S.4 A. 138-141 

t .^Ap lAf sJk. 

♦ To the Hypocrites give 
The good tidings that 
There is for them 
A grievous Chastisement 

139. Those who take 

For friends Unbelievers 
Rather than Believers: 

Is it honour they seek 
Among them? Nay- 
All honour is with Allah 

, Already has He sent you 649 
In the Book, that when 
Ye hear the Message of Allah 
1 l eld in defiance and ridicule, 

Ye are not to sit with them 
Unless they turn to a different 
Theme: if ye did, ye would be 
Like them. For Allah will 
Collect the 1 (ypocrites and those 
Who defy Faith-all in Hell;- 

, (These are) the ones who 
Wait and watch about you: 

If ye do gain 
A victory from Allah, 

They say: “Were we not 
With you? "-but if 
The Unbelievers gain 
A success, they say 
(To them): “Did we not 
Gain an advantage over you. 

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648. It ihe motive is sonic advantage, some honour, -the fountain of all good is Allah, 
How can a really be expected from those who deny Faith? And if there is some show 
of worldly honour, what is it worth against the contempt they earn in the next world? 

649, C/. vi. 6tf, an earlier and Makkan verse. 

Where we see or hear Truth held in light esteem, we ought to make our protest and 
withdraw from such company, not out of arrogance, as if we thought ourselves superior 
to other people, but out of real humility, lest our own nature be corrupted in such society. 
But it is possible that our protest or our sincere remonstrance may change the theme of 
discourse. In that case we have done good to those who were inclined to hold Truth in 
light esteem, for we have saved them for ridiculing Truth. 

- 261 - 

S.4 A.14M43 

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And did we not guard 
You from the Believers?'’ 
But Allah will judge 
Betwixt you on the Day 
Of Judgment. And never 
Will Allah gram 
To the Unbelievers 
A way (to triumph) 

Over the Believers 

65 f I 



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1 42. The Hypocrites- 

They seek to deceive Allah 
But it is Allah who deceive them. 
When they stand up to prayer. 
They stand without earnestness. 

To be seen of men. 

But little do they hold 
Allah in remembrance; 

143. {They are) wavering between this 
And that 

Belonging neither to these 
Nor those 

Whom Allah leaves straying,- 
Never wilt thou find 
For him the Way. 651 

0 yj, 

650. The methods and motives of Hypocrisy arc thoroughly unmasked here. It has 
no principles, hut watches for an opportunity to turn any event to its own advantage. 
If battle is joined between two inconsistent principles, it lias no belief in either, but 
watches the result. There is unceasing fight between Good and Evil in this world. If the 
Good seems to win, the hypocrites range themselves on its side with unctuous words, 
taking a great part of the credit to themselves. Perhaps the balance tips the other way 
later, and they have to make their peace with Evil, “Oil!” they say airily, “we were in 
the ranks of your enemy, before, on purpose to protect you when they were too strong 
for you!" This may suit the ways of the world. But the day of their account will come 
eventually. For the Good must ultimately triumph. 

651 If we choose evil deliberately and double our guilt by fraud and deception, we 
do not deceive Allah, but wc deceive ourselves. We deprive ourselves of the Grace of 
Allah, and are left straying away from the Path. In that condition who can guide us or 
show us the Way? Our true and right instincts become blunted: our fraud makes us 
unstable in character; when our fellow-men find out our fraud, any advantages w r e may 
have gained by the fraud are lost; and we become truly distracted in mind. 


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- 262 - 

S.4 A. 144-147 

J. 5 

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144. O ye who believe! 

Take not for friends 
Unbelievers nil her than 
Believers: do ye wish 
To offer Allah an open 
Proof against yourselves? 

145. The Hypocrites will be 
in the lowest depths 
Of the Fire: no helper 
Wilt thou find for them;- 

146. Except for those who repent. 

Mend (their life), hold fast 

To Allah, and make their religious 


Sincere to Allah: if so 
They will be (numbered) 653 
With the Believers. 

And soon will Allah 
Grant to the Believers 
A reward of immense value. 

147. What can Allah gain 
By your punishment. 

If ye are grateful 
And ye believe? 

Nay, it is Allah 
That rccogniscth 653 

(All good), and kmnveth 
All things. 

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652. Even Hypocrites can obtain forgiveness, on four conditions: (1) sincere 
repentance, which purifies their mind; (2) amendment of their conduct, which purifies 
their outer life; (2) steadfastness and devotion to Allah, which strengthens their faith and 
protects them from the assaults of evil, and (4) sincerity in their religion, or their whole 
inner being, which brings them as full members into the goodly Fellowship of Faith. 

653. There is no pleasure nor advantage to Allah in punishing His own creatures, 
over whom He watches with loving care. On the contrary He recognises any good- 
however little-which He finds in us, and delights to give us a reward beyond all measure. 
His recognition of us compared by a bold metaphor to our gratitude to Him for His 
favours. Hie epithet j/uUrr is applied to Allah, as here, in ii* I5K, and other passages. 
In xvi. 121 it is applied to Abraham: "he showed his gratitude for the favours of Allah, 
who chose him and guided him to a Straight Way.*' 

- 263 - 

S.4 A. 148-150 


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Allah lovcth not the 
Shouting of evil words 
In public speech, except 
By one who has been 
Wronged, for Allah 
Is He who heareth 
And knoweth all iliings. 

Whether you do openly 
A good deed or conceal ii 
Or cover evil with pardon. 
Surely Allah is ever pardoning 
Powerful 655 

Those who deny Allah 
And His Messengers, and 
Wish to separate between 
Allah and His Messengers* 
Saying: "We believe in some 
But reject others”: 

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654. We can make a public scandal of evil in many ways. (1) It may be idle 
sensation— mongcring: it often leads to more evil by imitation* as where criminal deeds 
are glorified in a cinema, or talked about shamelessly in a novel or drama* {2) It may 
he malicious gossip of a foolish, personal kind: it does no good, hut it hurts people’s 
feelings. (3) It may be malevolent slander or libel: it is intended deliberately to cause 
harm to people's reputation or injure them in other ways, and is rightly punishable under 
all laws* (4) It may be a public rebuke or correction or remonstrance, without malice. 
(1), (2) and (3} are absolutely forbidden. (4) may lie by a person in authority: in which 
case the exception applies, for all wrong or injustice must be corrected openly, to prevent 
its recurrence* Or (4) may be a person not vested with authority, but acting either from 
motives of public spirit, or in order to help some one who has been wronged; here again 
the exception will apply. But if the motive is different, the exception does not apply. (4) 
would also include a public complaint by a person who has suffered a wrong: he has every 
right to seek public redress. 

655* Qiuiir: The root qadara not only implies power* ability* strength, but two other 
ideas which it is difficult to convey in a single word, viz., the act and power of estimating 
the true value of a thing or persons* as in vi* 91; and the act and power of regulating 
something so as to bring it into correspondence with something. Judgment of values" 
l think sums up these finer shades of meaning. Allah forgives what is wrong and is able 
fully to appreciate and judge of the value of our good deeds whether we publish them 
or conceal them. 

- 264 - 

S.4 A. 150-153 

i. 6 


t t'u-jjl 

And wish 

To take a course midway*- 656 

15 L They are in truth 

And We have prepared 
For Unbelievers a humiliating 

152. To those who believe 
In Allah and Mis messengers 
And make no distinction 
Betweeen any of the messengers* 
We shall soon give 
Their (due) rewards: 

For Allah is Oft- forgiving* 

Most Merciful. 

SECT ION 22 + 

153. The People of the Book 
Ask thee to cause 
A book to descend to them 
From heaven: indeed 
They asked Moses 
For an even greater 
(Miracle), for they said: 

“Show us Allah in public/' 657 

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656. Unbelief takes various forms. Three are mentioned here: (1) denial of Allah and 
His revelation to mankind through inspired men: (2) a sort of nominal belief in Allah 
and His Prophets, hut one which is partial* and mixed up with racial pride, which does 
not allow of the recognition of any Messengers beyond those of a particular race: and 
(3) a nominal belief in universal revelation* but so hedged round with peculiar doctrines 
of exclusive salvation* that ii practically approaches to a denial of Allah's universal love 
for all mankind and all Creation. All three amount to Unbelief, for they really deny 
Allah's universal love and care* 

657. Cf. ii. 55, for the thunder and lightning which affected those who were 
presumptuous enough to ask that they should see Allah face to face* and ii. 51, and n. 
66* for the worship of the golden calf. 

The lesson is that it is presumptuous on the part of man to judge of spiritual things 
in terms of material ihings. or to ask to see Allah with their material eyes when Allah 
is above material forms and is independent of time and space. 

- 265 - 

S.4 A. 153*155 

But they were seized 
For their presumption. 

By thunder and lightning. 

Yet they worshipped the calf 
Even after Clear Signs 
Had come to them: 

Even so We forgave them; 

And gave Moses manifest 
Proofs of authority. 

154, And for their Covenant 
We raised over them 
The Mount (Sinai).; 658 
And (on another occasion) 

We said: “Enter the gate 

With humility"; and (once again) 
We commanded them: 

“Transgress not in the matter 
Of the Sabbath." 

And We took from them 
A solemn Covenant* 

155. (They have incurred divine 651 * 
Displeasure): in that they 
Broke their Covenant; 

That they rejected the Signs 
Of Allah; that they slew 
The Messengers in defiance Wl<l 
Of right; that they said. 


658. In this verse there is a recapitulation of three salient incidents of Jewish 
refractoriness already referred to in [he second Sura: viz.. (1) the Covenant under the 
towering height of Sinai, ii, 63; (2) their arrogance where they were commanded humility 
in entering a town, it. 58; and (3) their transgression of the Sabbath, ii, 65. 

659. In verses 155, 156, 157, 160 (latter half), and 161 with parenthetical clauses 
including those in verses 158-159, and 160 (first half), there is a catalogue of the iniquities 
of which the Jews were guikv, and for these iniquities we must understand some such 
words as: “They are under divine displeasure/ 1 Each clause of the indictment [ have 
indicated by prefixing the word “that." 

660. Cf iii. 21, and nn. 363 and 364. 

- 266 - 

S.4 A. 155-157 

i . 6 

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“Our hearts are the Wrappings 44 ; 661 - 
Nay, Allah hath set the seal on 

their hearts 

For their blasphemy, 

And little is it they believe 

156. That they rejected Faith; 

That they uttered against Mary 
A grave false charge; 662 

157* That they said (in boast). 

"Wc killed Christ Jesus 
The son of Mary, 

The Messenger of Allah" 

But they killed him not, 

Nor crucified him,'*' 1 
Only a likeness of that 
Was shown to them. 

! ^ cr j 

m # / y 1 * , ^ ^ / f ^Jf jr ** ^ ^ ^ 

661. C/. ti. 88, and n. 92, where the full meaning is explained, 

Note the crescendo (heightening effect) in the argument. Their iniquities were: (1) 
that they broke their Covenant: (2) that they rejected Allah's guidance as conveyed in 
His signs: (3) that they killed Allah's Messengers and incurred a double guilt, v/z., that 
of murder and that of a deliberate defiance of Allah's law; and (4) that they imagined 
themselves arrogantly self-sufficient, which means a blasphemous closing of their hearts 
for ever against the admission of Allah's grace. Then begins another series of iniquities 
from a different point of view; (1) that they rejected Faith: (2) that they made false 
charges against a saintly woman like Mary, who was chosen by Allah to be the mother 
of Jesus; (3) that they boasted of having killed Jesus when they were victims of their 
own self-hallucination: (4) that they hindered people from Allah’s way: and (5) that by 
means of usury and fraud they oppressed their fellow-men* 

662. The false charge against Mary was that she was unchaste. Cf. xix, 27-28. Such 
a charge is had enough to make against any woman, but to make it against Mary, the 
mother of Jesus, was to bring into ridicule Allah’s power itself. Islam is specially strong 
in guarding the reputation of women. Slanderers of women are hound io bring four 
witnesses in support of their accusations, and if they fail to produce four witnesses, they 
are to be flogged with eighty stripes and debarred from being competent witnesses: xxiv, 

663. The end of the life of Jesus on earth is as much involved in mystery as his birth, 
and indeed the greater pari of his private life, except the three main years of his ministry. 
It is not profitable to discuss the many doubts and conjectures among the early Christian 
sects and among Muslim theologians. The Orthodox Christian Churches make it a cardinal 
point of their doctrine that his life was taken on the Cross, that he died and was buried, 
that on the third day he rose in the body with his wounds intact, and walked about and 
conversed, and ate with his disciples* and was afterwards taken up bodily to heaven. This 

- 267 - 

S.4 A. 157-159 

J, 6 

iAjf aS* aAfi 



And those who differ 
Therein arc full of doubts. 
With no (certain) knowledge. 
But only conjecture to follow. 
For of a surety 
They killed him not:- 

Nay, Allah raised him up Nvl 
Unto Himself; and Allah 
Is Exalted in Power, Wise;- 

And there is none 

Of the People of the Book 

But must believe in Him 

Before his death;* 5 

And on the Day of Judgment 

He will he a witness' 1 * 

Against them:- 

\y^ aJ ’.Li j Jj 

^ <1 * j*' -f ^ #y 

is necessary for the theological doctrine ol blood sacrifice and vicarious atonement for 
sins, which is rejected by Islam But same of the early Christian sects did not believe 
that Christ was killed on the Cross. The Basilklans believed that some one else was 
substituted for him. I he Docetae held that Christ never had a real physical or natural 
body, but only an apparent or phantom body, and that his Crucifixion was only apparent, 
not real. The Marrionilc Gospel (about A.l>. 138) denied that Jesus was bora, and merely 
said that he appeared in human form. The Gospel of St. Barnabas supported the theory 
of substitution on the Cross. The Quranic teaching is that Christ was not crucified nor 
killed by the Jews, notwithstanding certain apparent circumstances which produced that 
illusion in the minds of some of his enemies: that disputations, doubts, and conjectures 
on such matters are vain: and that Ire was taken up to Allah (see next verse and note), 

6f>4. There is difference of opinion as to the exact interpretation of this verse. The 
words are: The Jews did not kill Jesus, but Allah raised him up (rafa‘ul to Himself, One 
school holds that Jesus did not die the usual human death, but still lives in the body 
in heaven, which is the generally accepted Muslim view, 

b65. Before his death: Interpreters are not agreed as to the exact meaning. Those who 
hold that Jesus did not die refer the pronoun “his” to Jesus, They say that Jesus is still 
living in the body and that he will appear just before the Final Day, after the coming 
of the Mahdi, when the world will be purified of sin and unbelief. There will he a final 
death before the Final Resurrection, but all will have believed before that final death. 
Others think that “his" is better referred to “none of the People of the Book”, and that 
the emphatic form “must believe” (la-ya‘ tninanna) denotes more a question of duty than 
of fact. 

fifth, Cf iv. 41 





<s ; ; 






- 268 

S.4 A. 160* 163 J.(> ^jLJI »jJLl t .LJl ly- 

S ^ I __ 

For the iniquity of the Jews 
We made unlawful for them'* 7 
Certain (foods) good and wholesome 
Which had been lawful for them;- 
And dial they hindered many 
From Allah's Way;- 

16 L That they took usury. 

Though they were forbidden: 

And that they devoured 
Men's wealth wrongful ly;- 
We have prepared for those 
Among them who reject Faith 
A grievous chastisement, 

162, But those among them 
Who are well-grounded 
In knowledge. 

And the Believers, 

Believe in what hath been 
Revealed to thee and what was 
Revealed before thee: 

And (especially) those 
Who establish regular prayer 
And pay Zakai 
And believe in Allah 
And in the Fast Day: 

To them shall We soon 
Give a great reward. 


163. We have sent thee 
Inspiration, as We sent it 

To Noah and the Messengers^ 

•3 \LS\C\j1 

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667, Cf. vi. 146. The ceremonial law of the Jews forbade the eating of the flesh ol 
the canid, rabbit amt hare (Leviticus si. 4-6) * ami the fat of oxen, sheep, and goals 
(Leviticus viL 23), and was in other respects very strict. 

668. hirst we have a general statement: that inspiration was sent to many Messengers, 

and the inspiration was of the same kind as that sent to the Prophet Muhammmad, for 
Allah's Message »s one. Note that whai is spoken of here is Inspiration, not necessarily 
a Hook Every nation or group of people had a messenger: 47. Some of these 

messengers have been mentioned by name in the Qur-an, and some not: iv. 164. 

- 269 - 

S.4 A. 163-166 

1. 6 ^LJl *jJL| 

£ fc j, „\\ \ OjJr~* 

After him: We sent 
Inspiration to Abraham,*** 

Ismail, Isaac* Jacob 
And the Tribes, to Jesus, 

Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, 
And to David We gave 
The Psalms. 

164. Of some messengers We have 
Already told thee the story: 

Of others we have not;- 

And to Moses Allah spoke direct ;- ft7W 

1 65 . N I e sse nge rs vv h o ga vc good nc ws*' 1 
As well as warning. 

That mankind, after (the coming) 
Of the messengers, should have 
No pica against Allah: 

For Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. 

166. But Allah beareth witness 
That what He hath sent 
Unto thee He hath sent 
With 1 1 is (own) knowledge,*^ 

And I lie angels bear witness: 

But enough is Allah lor a witness. 

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669. (/ 136 and iii, 84. The list here given is in three groups. (I) The first group, 

Abraham's family, is the same as in ii. 136. (where see the note) and in iii. 84. (2) 'Then 
we have the prophets Jesus, Job and Jonah, who symbolise patience ami perseverance. 
(3) Then we have Aaron the priest and Solomon the King, both great, figures, but each 
subordinate to another primary figure* viz., Moses (mentioned in the next verse) and 
David (mentioned at the end of this verse). David's distinction was the Psalms, some of 
which are still extant. Though their present form is different from the original and they 
do undoubtedly include Fslanis mu written by David, the collection contains much 
devotional poetry of a high order, 

670. Allah spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai Hence the title of Moses in Muslim 
theology: Kaiim-uUdh: the one to whom Allah spoke, 

671. Every prophet proclaims Allah's goodness to the righteous and forgiveness to 
those who repent, (good news), and the Wrath to come for those who reject Faith and 
live in iniquity (warning). Their mission of warning is a prelude and complement to their 
mission of good news. No one can then say that he or she did not know, 

672. Inspiration, though it is clothed in human language, and shaped to the 
personality of the inspired one, proceeds from I he knowledge of Allah. 

- 270 - 

S.4 A. 167-171 

J, 6 *jJL| 





170 , 

Those who reject Faith 
And keep off (men) 

From the Way of Allah, 
Have verily strayed far. 
Far away from the Path, 

Those who reject Faith 
And do wrong,-AUah 
Will not forgive them 
Nor guide them 
To any way- 

Except the way of Hell, 
To dwell therein for ever. 
And this to Allah is easy 



0 mankind! the Messenger 
Hath come to you in truth 
From Allah: believe in him: 

It is best for you. 674 But if 
Ye reject Faith, to Allah 
Belong all things in the heavens 
And on earth: and Allah 
Is All-knowing, All- wise. 

O People of the Book! 

Commit no excesses 575 

iju_. ■yiS'jUa 

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a J- A- ^ ** A - V ^ 

673. Easy-noi in the sense that Allah takes any pleasure in any of His creatures going 
astray. The contrary is the case: for Allah’s Grace recognises all good in us to such an 
extent that it is compared to gratitude in iv. 147: see n, 653 * We must understand easy 
in the sense that Allah is Supreme in knowledge and power; if any forces of rebellion 
foolishly think that they can evade punishment, they are mistaken. Punishment comes as 
a matter of course, It is not a matter of difficulty or exertion on the part of Allah. 

674. Allah’s solicitude for us is for our own good, not because He gets any advantage 
from it. For He is independent of all things, and everything declares His glory and praise, 

675. Just as a foolish servant may go wrong by excess of zeal for his master, so in 
religion people’s excesses may lead them to blasphemy or a spirit the very opposite of 
religion. The Jewish excesses in the direction of formalism, racialism, exclusiveness, and 
rejection of Christ Jesus have been denounced in many places. Here the Christian attitude 
is condemned, which raises Jesus to an equality with Allah: in some cases venerates Mary 
almost to idolatry: attributes a physical son to Allah: and invents the doctrine of the 
Trinity, opposed to all reason, which according to the Athanasian Creed, unless a man 
believes, he is doomed to hell for ever. Let our Muslims also beware lest they fall into 
excesses either in doctrine or in formalism. 

: - . v, ■■■■■ . . ■ . ; 

U y u C u J yfV » Y J Xjf t J _■ - ■■ 'j y Xyf'v Xyfc Jyd Jijjlt <Ty y Jyt S XyX JyT, 

- 271 - 

S.4 A. 171-172 

J. 6 

i *L_JI 

In your religion: nor say 
Of Allah aught but the truth. 
Christ Jesus the son of Mary 
Was (no more than) 

A Messenger of Allah, 

Anti His Word, 

Which He bestowed on Mary, 
And a Spirit proceeding 
From Him: so believe 
In Allah and His Messengers, 

Say not “Three”: desist : 676 
It will be better for you: 

For Allah is One God: 

Glory be to Him: 

(Far Exalted is He) above 
Having a son. To Him 
Belong all things in the heavens 
And on earth. And enough 
Is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. 


Christ disdaineth not 
To serve and worship Allah, 677 
Nor do the angels, those 
Nearest (to Allah): 

Those who disdain 

His worship and are arrogant, 

1 le will gather them aj] 

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676. Christ's attributes are mentioned: (l) that he was the son of a woman, Mary 
and therefore a man; (2) hut a messenger, a man with a mission from Allah, and 
therefore entitled to honour; (3) a Word bestowed on Mary, for he was created by Allah's 
word “Be” (kun), and he was: hi. 5*J; (d) a spirit proceeding from Allah, but not Allah: 
his life and his mission were more limited than in the case of some other Messengers, 
though we must pay equal honour to him as a Prophet of Allah. The doctrines of Trinity, 
equality with Allah, and sonship, are repudiated as blasphemies. Allah is independent of 
all needs and has no need of a son to manage His affairs. The Gospel of John (whoever 
wrote it) has put in a great deal of Alexandrian and Gnostic mysticism round the doctrine 
of the Word (Greek, Logos), but it is simply explained here. 

677, Christ often watched and prayed, as a humble worshipper of Allah; and his 
agony in the Garden of Geihsemanc was full of human dignity, suffering, and self- 
humiliation (see Matt, xxvi, 3645). 

- 272 - 

S.4 A, 172-176 

J. 6 ^jUU^LI 

t tUJI 

Tt >ge i he r unto Hi ms e l f 67 * 

To (answer), 

173. But to those who believe 
And do deeds of righteousness 
He will give their (due) 
Rewards ,-und more. 

Out of His bounty: 

But those who are 
Disdainful and arrogant. 

He will punish 

With a grievous chastisement: 
Nor will they find, 

Besides Allah, any 
To protect or help them, 

174, O mankind! Verily 
There hath come to you 
A convincing proof 
From your Lord 

For We have sent unto you 
A light (that is) manifest. 679 

175, Then those who believe 
In Allah, and hold fast 
To 1 lim.-soon will I je 
Admit them to Mercy 

And Grace from Himself, 68 ” 
And guide them to 1 timself 
By a straight Way. 

176. They ask thee 

For a legal decision. 

Say: Allah directs (thus) 

About those who leave 

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6 ?8, The disdainful and the arrogant are the crew of Satan, who will be gathered 
together before the Supreme Throne for punishment. 

679. The Proof and the Light are the Qur-an and the Personality, Life, and Teaching 
of Muhammad Al-Mustafa. 

680. The Mercy and Grace are expressed here as specially bestowed by Him. 

- 273 - 

S.4 A, 176 

J. 6 



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No descendants or ascendants 
As heirs. If it is a man* 681 
That dies, leaving a sister 
But no child, she shall 
Have half the inheritance: 

If (such a deceased was) 

A woman, who left no child. 

Her brother takes her inheritance: 
If there are two sisters. 

They shall have two-thirds 
Of the inheritance 
{Between them): if there are 
Brothers and sisters, (they share), 
The male having twice 
The share of the female. 

Thus doth Allah make dear 
To you (His law), lest 
Ye err. And Allah 
Hath knowledge of all things. 

jSjT jjda *5 U-j a jp-jJ y j 

J aii\ uy-* jru^ I 

681, This verse supplements the rule of inheritance of the estate of a deceased person 
who has left as heir neither a descendant nor an ascendant. We shall call such a person 
4, who may he either a male or a female. In iv, 12 (second half), /l T s case was 
considered where he had left uterine brothers or sisters, Merc A, a case is considered 
where he has left brothers and or sisters by the father's side, whether (he mother was 
the same or not, “Brothers” and "sisters" in this verse must he construed to be such 
brothers and sisters. 

For the sake of clearness, I have expanded the terse language of the original in the 
translation. Lei me explain it more concretely in this note. A, and "brother'" and "‘sister’ 1 
being strictly defined as above, we proceed to consider how A ’s inheritance would be 
divided If A left a widow or widower, the widow’s or widower's share would first be 
calculated as in the first half of iv r 12; if A left no spouse, this calculation would not 
be necessary. Then if A left a single “sister," she would have a half share, the remaining 
half (in so for as it, or a part of it, does not fall to a spouse, if any) going to remoter 
heirs: if a single “brother,” he would have the whole (subject to the spouse’s right if there 
is a spouse); if more than one '"brother," they divide the whole (subject to etc.). If A 
left two or more "sisters,” they get between them two-thirds, subject to the spouse’s right, 
if any. Tf A left a “brother” and "sister,” or "brothers” and “sisters," they divide on 
the basis that each "brother’s” share is twice that of the “sister” (subject to, etc.). In 
all cases debts, funeral expenses, and legacies (to the amount allowed) have priority as 
in n. 522, 



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- 274 - 

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siq ojoq oi|a\ osoqi Aq posnsuu ojdav Aoqi woq pun 'snsof jo sopcjiuj oqx 


~LH a) pomuopuoo run oouopjAO asp?] pun *spui>t fp? jo suotqjsjodns ‘Xjnnpuus 
01(1 JO UOllTiJOjA *8liqqUin3 'uotlirotxoiut ‘fUfjnOAVS SSOOXO lSUtnBl’ SOA[OSLLIOqi 
pJimE inq qnjwiq pun pool? si mqi [|tt opnqinjfl ipiM Aofuo istuu Aoqj 

•(98-frt a) sunnsuq) oi(i Sunum x hi tod pooft joqto 
pun ’Aiquunq \\ioid ompojddn jsmu ioqj :uitos pui? lfnsiii ujojj qiinj jpiji pun 
pooqjnqiojg umo Jioqi pojojd \mm inq ‘oonsnf [niunduii op i xiuu suir|srt}^ 

'itt'LZ * a) oaouS 1011 IX11UI 

untu isnf oqx qujiv iuojj luouiqsumd si ojoqj mh>iauo oqi uiojj kjojjiis umu 
isnf oi(i LpiqM lurmnuoji oqj jo odAi oqi xi uti’j Aq pqy jo iopjmu oqj 

‘(9c "cl a) Buluji:a\ iioqj pm) oaiuj ,<oqi 'siuuiioao 3 
jpqi ponqou pun qinjj oqi iuojj qonq pouuii xuniisrjqj oqi pun SAvof oqi j| 

(ll^ a) Xioqj 

oi isnjnou oji* Buipiop jo ssouiq^iidti pun oommU pun *Xpnq to ssouqunoj ) 

*(S*I a) pojinq id sniqqnoqiiw pun utmnsjodus moqii Mjt( ;rijos pun joqos n 
oi oAionpuoo st: ‘pooj inoqn xuoiiiqnnoj uin)joo oj siuiod n ouuip pur: unuinq 
*suoijn3qqo ||i: “po.ions si: qijjiij oi pioddi? m: qqw fiujUUiSafj-^fJiftwuv 

pOJBOAOi oq 

oi osjoa is i! | oqi sua\ i; Aqnopftqouujq;} q’^T'lV oi oSuuiiiSlij isiq x loqdoifj 
oqi Suunp *'h 01 11 ! poinSjmuojd sum qoiqw ; jm\ joj uoidtpj jhoa popajjod 
I oaiti[ Xnp siqj„ riiouiunpop oiqnjtnuoui oqi Munition osjoa ipjnoj aq] 


ojt: Xiqopij pun ‘no; isnf ssouqunop ‘pooj inoqn ■unqsj jo sidooojd p:ononjd oqi 
upqiV jo suoiSijoj jojjjno oqi jo utnidoiion oqi oi Ajq|Qjnn |eoi£o| n sy 

‘ os|i:j uooq oai:i| oj pojnpop oin Aoqi ^uiunoui orui osm|M <u ‘joddng isirj 0l(l jo 
lUOLiiirjon^ uluo(os jjoi|| oi pin: 'suiMiKuqj oip oj A|Ji:piDljJi:d sjojoi \[ unrjsi Aq 
pooiqd st!A\ ouois fuidoo oqi qoii(AV oj ^uoi8i(o.j ojtid iioqj iuojj sumvsuq ) pun 
swop oqi jo Eutpjisq.inq oqi qijAv ■uuiitqnqdnooj jo aua\ Aq ‘s|Bop \uns siq \ 

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Sural Al-Ma‘ida 5 Ayai I Juz* 6 <^L| a SJdUl 

i " . 

Al-MiVkki* or The Tabic Spread, 

hi the name of Allah, Most Gracious , 
Most Merciful . 

Mini (all) obligations. 

Lawful unto you (for food) 

Arc all beasts of cat lie 
With the exceptions named : <tM 
Hut animals of the chase 
Are forbidden while ye 
Arc in the Sacred Precincts 
Or in the state of pilgrimaged 


6H2. I’his line has been justly admired for its terseness and comprehensiveness. 
Obligations: 'ttqud: the Arabic word implies so many tin up that a whole chapter of 
Commentary can he written on it, First* there are the divine obligations that arise from 
our spiritual nature and our relation to Allah. He created us and implanted in us (he 
tacuhv of knowledge and foresight: besides the intuition and reason which Me gave us. 
Me made Nature responsive to our needs, and lbs Signs in Nature arc so many lessons 
to us in our own inner life: He further sent Messengers and Teachers* for I he guidance 
of our conduct in individual, social* and public life. All these gifls create corresponding 
obligations which we must fulfil But in our own human and material life we undertake 
mutual obligations express and implied. We make a promise: we enter into a commercial 
or social contract: we enter into a contract of marriage: we must faithfuls fulfil alt 
obligations in all these relationships. Our group or our State enters into a treaty; every 
individual in that group or State is hound to sec that as far as lies m his power, such 
obligations are faithfully discharged. There are tacit obligations; living in civil society, we 
must respect its tacit conventions unless they are morally wrong, and in that case we must 
get out of such society. I here arc tacit obligations in the characters of host and guest, 
wayfarer of companion, employer or employed* etc** etc** which every man of Faith must 
discharge conscientiously* The man who deserts those who need him and goes to pray 
m a desert ts a coward who disregards his obligations. All these obligations are inter- 
connected. Truth and fidelity are parts of religion in all relations of life 

This verse is numbered separately from the succeeding verses. 

ON* That is* the exceptions 
See v. 3 below. 

ned not onh in the Our an but in the Sunnah as well. 

084. Cf v. 94-%, Hunting and the use of game are forbidden ** while ye are 
hurumu/t," i,e. t while ye arc (I) in the Sacred Precincts, or {2\ in the special pilgrim 
garb (ihram). as to which see n. 212, ii )%. In most cases the two amount to the same 
thing. The Sacred Precincts are sanctuary both for man and beast* 

- 27b - 

For Allah doth command 
According to His Will and Plan.' 

O yc who believe! 

Violate not the sanctity 
Of the rites of Allah , 686 
Nor of the Sacred Month , 687 
Nor of the animals brought 
For sacrifice, nor the garlands 
That mark out such animals. 

Nor the people resorting 
To the Sacred House , 688 
Seeking of the bounty 
And good pleasure 
Of their Lord. 

But when ye are clear 

Of the Sacred Precincts 689 

And of the state of pilgrimage. 

Ye may hunt 

And let not the hatred 

Of some people 

In (once) shutting you out 

Of the Sacred Mosque 

c " 

* -"f? ^ ^ i *< 

685. Allah's commands arc not arbitrary. His Will is the perfect Archetype or Plan 
of the world. Everything He wills has regard to His Plan, in which are reflected His perfect 
wisdom anil goodness. 

686. Cf. n. 158, where Safa and Marwa are called “Symbols (sha*a*ir) of Allah", Here 
the Symbols are everything connected with the Pilgrimage, viz., (1) the places (like Safa 
and Marwa, or the Ka ba or ‘Arafat, etc,); (2) the riles and ceremonies prescribed; (3) 
prohibitions (such as that of hunting, etc,); (4) the limes and seasons prescribed. There 
is spiritual and moral dimension in all these. See notes on ii. 158. it. 194-21X1. 

687. The month of pilgrimage, or else, collectively, the four sacred months (ix, 36), 
viz., Rnjab (7th). Zul-qa'dah (llth), Zul-hijjah (12th, the month of Pilgrimage), and 
Muharram (the first of the year). In all these months War was prohibited. Excepting 
Rajah the other three months are consecutive. 

688. The immunity from attack or interference extended to the animals brought as 
offerings for sacrifice and the garlands or fillets or distinguishing marks which gave them 
immunity. They were treated as sacred symbols. And of course every protection or 
immunity was enjoyed by the Pilgrims, 

689. This is the state opposite to that described in n. 684, i.v., when ye have left 
the Sacred Precincts, and have doffed the special pilgrim garb, showing your return to 
ordinary life. 

— rT— , 

- 277 - 

S.5 A, 2-3 

J. 6 ^Ul sjJLl 

o oJLJlil ojjk- 

Lcad you to transgression 
(And hostility on your part)/ 190 
Help ye one another 
In righteousness and piety. 

But help yc not one another 
In sin and rancour: 

Fear Allah: for Allah 
Is strict in punishment. 

3. Forbidden to you (for food) 

Are: dead meat, blood. 

The flesh of swine, and that 
On which hath been invoked 
The name of other than Allah: 691 
That which hath been 
Killed by strangling. 

Or hy a violent blow. 

Or by a headlong fall. 

Or by being gored to death: 

That which hath been (partly) 
Eaten by a wild animal; 

Unless ye are able 
To slaughter it (in due form); 69 ' 
That which is sacrificed 693 

' c mj C * *1 '• 










690. See n. 205 to ii. 191. la the sixth year of the Hijra the Pagans, by way of hatred 
and persecution of the Muslims, had pi evented them from access to the Sacred Mosque, 
When the Muslims were re-established in Makkah. some of them wanted to retaliate. 
Passing from the immediate event to the general priori pie, we must not retaliate or return 
evil for evil. The hatred of the wicked docs not justify hostility on our part. We have 
to help each other in righteousness and piety, not in perpetuating feuds of hatred and 
enmity. We may have to fight and put down evil, hut never in a spirit of malice or hatred, 
but always in a spirit of justice and righteousness. 

691. CJ. ii. 173 and nn. 173 and ! 74, The prohibition of dead meat, blood, the llesh 
of swine, and that on which other names than that of Allah have been invoked, has 
been there explained, 

692. If an animal dies by strangling, or by a violent blow, or a headlong fall, or by 
being gored u> death, or by being attacked by a wild animal, the presumption is that 
it becomes carrion, as the life-blood is congealed before being taken out of the body. 
But the presumption cun be rebutted. If die life-blood still flows and the solemn mode 
of slaughter (ztihh) in the name of Allah is carried out, it becomes lawful ns food. 

693. This was also an idolatrous rile, different from that in which a sacrifice was 
devoted to a particular idol or a false god. 








- 278 - 

On stone (altars); 

(Forbidden) also is the division * 94 

(Of meal) by raffling 

With arrows; that is impiety. 

This day have those who 
Reject Faith given up 
All hope of your religion:* 95 
Yet fear them not 
But fear Me. 

This day have I 
Perfected your religion* 9 * 

For you, completed 
My favour upon you. 

And have chosen for you 
Islam as your religion. 

Bui if any is forced 
By hunger, with no inclination 
To transgression, Allah is 
Indeed Oft- forgiving. 

Most Merciful 

4. They ask thee what is 
Lawful to them (as food)/’ 9 
Say: Lawful unto you 
Are (all) t hi rigs good and pure: 
And what ye have taught 
The boasts and birds of prey. 
Training them to hum in the manner 
Directed to you by Allah: 

(iarnbMtig of all kinds is forbidden; n. 291. A son of tottery or raffle practised 
hy Pagan Arabs has been described in it. 24 1 . Division of meat in this way is here 
forbidden, us it U a form of gambling. 

695. So long us Liam was not organised, with its own community and vis own laws, 
the Unbelievers had hoped to wean the Believers from the new Teaching, (Now' that 
hope was gone, with the complete organisation of Islam). 

696 the Iasi verse revealed chronologically, marking the approaching end of Al- 
Mustafa's ministry in his earthly life, 

697. The previous verse was negative; ii defined what was not lawful for food, Wz, f 
livings gross, or disgusting, or dedicated to superstition This verse is positive: u defines 
what is lawful, uz. all things that are good and pure. 


S.5 A. 4-5 

J.6 j-aUl.jJLl 

0 a Julii i 

Eat whai they catch for you, 698 
But pronounce the name 
Of Allah over it: and fear 
Allah; for Allah is swift 
In taking account. 

This day are (all) tilings 

Good and pure made lawful 

Unto you* The food 

Of the People of the Book 699 

Is lawful unto you 

And yours is lawful 

Unto them. 

(Lawful unto you in marriage) 
Are (not only) chaste women 
Who are believers, hut 
Chaste women among 
The People of the Book,™ 
Revealed before your time,- 

' . >*>**<> n -r 

6%. In the matter of the killing for meat, the general rule is that the name of Allah, 
the true God should he pronounced as a rite in order to call our attention to the fact 
that we do not take life thoughtlessly hut solemnly for food, with the permission of Allah, 
to whom wc render the life back. The question (if hunting is then raised. How can this 
solemn rite he performed when wc send forth trained hawks, trained hounds* or trained 
cheetahs or other animals trained for the chase? They must necessarily kill at some 
distance from their masters. Their game is legalised on these conditions: (1) that they are 
trained to kill , not merely for their own appetite, or out of mere w anton ness* but for 
their master’s food; the training implies that something of the solemnity which Allah has 
taught us in this matter goes into their action; and (2) we are to pronounce the name 
of Allah over the quarry; this is interpreted to mean that the Takhir should be 
pronounced when the hawk or dog* etc.* is released to the quarry, 

699. The question is for food generally* such as is ordinarily “good and pure"": in 
the matter of meat it should he killed with some sort of solemn Sly analogous to that of 
the Takhir. The rules of Islam in this respect being analogous to those of the People 
of the Book, there is no objection to mutual recognition, as opposed to meat killed by 
Pagans with superstitious rites. In this respect the Christian rule is the same: “That ye 
abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled* and from 
fornication." (Acts. xv. 2 l >), Notice the bracketing of fornication with things unlawful to 

7fKt. Islam is not exclusive. .Soda! intercourse, including inter-marriage, is permitted 
with the People of the Hook. A Muslim man may marry a woman from their ranks on 
the same terms as he would marry a Muslim woman, i.e*. he must give her an economic 
and moral status, and must not be actuated merely by motives of lust or physical desire. 

A Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man, because her Muslim status would ~ 

- 280 - 

S,5 A.5-6 

o ojJ’iii 


When ye give them 

Their due dowers* and desire 

Chastity, not lewdness. 

Taking them as lovers. 

If any one rejects faith, 701 
Fruitless is his work. 

And in the Hereafter 
He will be In the ranks 
Of those who have lost 
(All spiritual good). 


6. O ye who believe! 

When ye prepare 
For prayer, wash' 02 
Your faces, and your hands 
(And arms) to the elbows; 
Rub your heads (with water); 
And (wash) your feel 
To the ankles. 

If ye are in a state 
Of ceremonial impurity, 7113 
Bathe your whole body. 

But if ye are ill. 

Or on a journey* 

Or one of you cometh 

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be affected; the wife ordinarily lakes the nationality and status given by her husband's 
law. Any man or woman, of any race or fahh. may, on accepting Islam, freely marry 
any Muslim woman or man. provided it he from motives of purity and chastity and not 
of lewdness. 

701. As always, food, cleanliness, social intercourse, marriage and other interests in 
life, are linked with our duty to Allah arid faith in Him, Duty ami faith arc hit our own 
benefit, here and in the Hereafter. 

702. These are the essentials of Wudhu. or ablutions preparatory to prayers, erz.. (1) 
U» bathe the whole face in water, and (2) both hands and arms to the elbows, with (3) 
a litlle rubbing of the head with water (as the head is usually protected and comparatively 
clean), anil (4) the bathing of the feet to the ankles In addition, following the practice 
of the Prophet, it is usual first to wash the mouth, and the nose before proceeding with 
the face, etc, 

710. Cf. iv. 43 and n. 563. Ritual impurity arises from sex pollution. 


-281 - 

From the privy 
Or ye hn ve been 
Tn contact with women. 

And ye find no water, 

Then take for yourselves 
Clean sand or earth, 01 
And mb therewith 
Your faces and hands. 

Allah doth not wish 
To place you in a difficulty. 
But to make you clean. 

And to complete 
His favour to you, 

That ye may be grateful, 

7. And call in remembrance 
The favour of Allah 
Unto you, and His Covenant, 
Which He ratified 
With you, when ye said: 

"We hear and we obey 11 : 

And fear Allah, for Allah 
Knowelh well 

The secrets of your hearts. 

K. O ye who believe! 

Stand out firmly 
For Allah, as witnesses™ 6 

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71M. This is Tayommum, or wiping with dean sand or earth where water is not 
available. I lake ii that this substitute is permissible both for Wudhu and for a full bath, 
in the circumstances mentioned. 

705. There is a particular and a general meaning. The particular meaning refers to 
the solemn Pledge and Covenant taken by two groups of people at 'Aqaba, a valley near 
Mina, the firsi about fourteen months before the Hijra, and the second a little later. 
These were Pledges of fealty to ihe Messenger of Allah, comparable to the Covenant 
under Mount Sinai taken in the time of Moses (See Q, ii. 63 and n. 78), The general 
meaning has been explained in n. 682 to v. 1: man is under a spiritual obligation under 
an implied Covenant with Allah: Allah has given man reason, judgment, the higher 
faculties of the soul, and even the position of vicegerent on earth (ii. 30), and man is 
bound to serve Allah faithfully and obey His Will. That obedience begins with cleanliness 
in bodily functions, food, etc. It goes on to cleanliness of mind and thought, and 
culminates in purity of motives in the inmost recesses of Ins heart and soul. 

706. Cf. iv. 135. 

- 282 - 

J* 6 

o gjJllI 


To fair dealing, and lei not 
The haired of others 
To you make you swerve 1 ' 37 
To wrong and depart from 
Justice. Be just: that is 
Next to Piety: and fear Allah, 
For Allah is well-acquainted 
With all that ye do. 

To those who believe 
And do deeds of righteousness 
Hath Allah promised forgiveness 
And a great reward. 

Those who reject faith 
And deny Our Signs 
Will he Companions 
Of Hell- fire 

O ye who believe! 

Call in remembrance 
The favour of Allah 
Unto you when 

Certain men formed the design 

To stretch out 

Their hands against you. 

But (Allah) held back 
Their hands from you: 71 ** 

So fear Allah. And on Allah 
Let Believers put 
(All) their trust. 

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707 To do justice and act righteously in a favourable or neutral atmosphere is 
meritorious enough, hut the real test comes when you have to do justice to people who 
hate you or to whom you have an aversion. But no less is required of you by the higher 
moral law, 

70K. tit the life- time of the Prophet it happened again and again that the enemies 
of Islam stretched out their hands against him. his people, and his teaching. The odds 
were, from a world y point of view, in their favour, but their hands were rendered inert 
and powerless because they were fighting against the truth of Allah. So does it happen 
always, now as h did then. True faith must take heart, and at the same time humbly 
recognise Allah's favour and mercy, and he grateful. 

i y't \Y lyf-L y^Tj gi 

- 283 - 

S.5 A. 12-1.1 

J. 6 ^ Ul *>L| 

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12 . 


Allah did aforetime 
Take a Covenant from 
The Children of Israel, 71 w 
And We appointed twelve 
Chieftains among (hem* 

And Allah said: “I am 
With you: if ye (hut) 
Establish regular Prayers, 

Pay Zakat 

Believe in My Messengers, 

1 lonnur and assist them. 

And loan to Allah 
A beautiful loan. 7111 
Verily l will wipe out 
Prom you your evils. 

And admit you to Gardens 
With rivers flowing beneath; 
Hut if any of you, after this# 
Rosisieth faith, he hath truly 
Wandered from the path 
Of rectitude*”' 11 

13* Hut because of their breach 
Of their Covenant, We 
Cursed them, 712 and made 

c . > -in 

u ^ 'r 

7tM, Cf. ii. 63 and n 78, “Moses.,, called for ihc elders of the people..* and all the 
people answered together and sard. 'All that the Lord hath spoken we will do/ ~ (Exod, 
xix, 7-K). This was under the towering height of Mount Sinai. 

l ive chieftains or elders or leaders of the people were selected, one from each of 
the twelve tribes (see ii. AO and n. 73). For census purposes the names of the elders of 
the tribes arc given m Nam i 4-16: they arc called “every one the head of the house 
of lu> fathers". Later, twelve other “heads of the Children of Israel" were selected to 
spy out the land of Canaan: their names are mentioned in Num xiii. 1-1 A. See also, 
below, v. 20-26 and notes. 

710. Cy. ii. 243, u. 276. The phrase means “spending in the cause of Allah". Allah 
in His infinite grace looks upon this as a loan, for which He gives a recompense manifold. 

71 L The path of rectitude; or the even way: see n HJH. n. 109. 

712. Cursed them: that means that because of the breach of their Covenant, Allah 
withdrew His overflowing Grace from them The withdrawal of Grace made their hearts 
grow hard in two ways: (1) they were no longer protected from the assaults of evil, and 
f2) they became impervious even to the message of forgiveness and mercy which is open 
to all Allah's creatures. 

- 284 - 

0 aJjlIl 

14 * 

Their hearts grow hard: 

They change the words 

From their (right) places 

And forget a good part 

Of Hie Message that was 

Sent them, nor wilt thou 

Cease to find them- 

Barring a few-cvcr 

Bent on (new) deceits : 713 

But forgive them* and overlook M 

(Their misdeeds): for Allah 

Love ill those who are kind* 

From those, too, who call 
Themselves Christians* 

We did take a Covenant , 715 
But they forgot a good part 
Of the Message that was 
Sent them: so We stirred up 
Enmity and hatred 
Between the one and the other. 
To the Day of Judgment. 

And soon will Allah 1 A show 
Them what it is 
They have done. 

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713. Israel, when it lost Allah's grace as above, began to sin against truth and 
religion in three ways: (l) they began to misuse Scripture itself, by either taking words 
out of their right meaning, or applying them to things for which they were never meant: 
(2) in doing so. they conveniently forgot a part of Ihe Message and purpose of Allah: 
and (3) they invented new deceits to support the old ones. 

714. if, ti. 109 and n. MO, where l have explained the different shades of meaning 
in the words for “forgiveness/* 

715. The Christian Covenant may be taken to be the charge which Jesus gave to his 
disciples, and which the disciples accepted, to welcome Ahmad (O, hi. ft). Glimpses of 
this are to be found in the Gospel of St, John even as it exists now (John xv. 2h. xvi. 
7), ti is those who call themselves “Christians” who reject this. True Christians have 
accepted it. The enmity between those who call themselves Christians and the Jews will 
continue till the Last Duv. 

7 15- A. The change from the First Person in the beginning of the verse to the ‘Bard 
Person here illustrates the change from the personal relationship of the Covenant, to the 
impersonal operation of Justice at Judgment. C/, xxxv, 

* 285 - 

i A. 15-17 

J. 6 ^oUl 


15, O people of the Book! 

There hath come to you 
Our Messenger, revealing 
To you much that ye 
Used to hide in the Book, 
And passing over much 
(That is now unnecessary); 
There hath come to you 
From Allah a (new) light 
And a perspicuous Book,- 71 * 

16, Wherewith Allah guideih all 
Who seek His good pleasure 
To ways of peace and safety, 
And leadeth them out 

Of darkness, by His Will, 
Unto the light, -guideih them 
To a Path that is Straight, 

17, They disbelieved indeed 
Those that say 

That Allah is Christ 

The son of Mary 

Say: “Who then 

Hath the least power 

Against Allah, if His Will 

Were to destroy Christ 

The son of Mary, his mother, 

And all-every one 

That is on the earth? 

For to Allah belongeth 
l"he dominion of the heavens 

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7 Hi. Mubin: I wish 1 could translate by a simpler word than "perspicuous 4 ' Bui 
“plain" may mean unadorned, the opposite of beautiful, and this Book is among the most 
huaucihd that it is the privilege of mankind to read, “Clear" would he right as fur as 
ii means “unambiguous, self-evident, not involved in mysteries of origin, history, or 
meaning, one which every one can understand as to the esse minis necessary for him, 
without die intervention of priests or privileged persons", Muhin has all these meanings, 
tint a suggests, besides, some quality of 0 shining light, by which we are able 10 make 
things clear, to distinguish the true from the false. This J think is suggested better by 
“perspicuous" than by the word "dear". Besides it is hardly good idiom to speak of “a 
clear Hook." 


- 286 - 

S.5 A. 17-19 

Anti the earth, and all 
That is between. He ercateth 717 
What He plcuscth, For Allah 
Hath power over all things." 

18. (Both) the Jews and the Christians 
Say: "We are sons 

Of Allah, and His beloved . " 7lH 
Say: "Why then doth lie 
Punish you for your sins? 

Nay, ye are but men,- 
Of the men He hath created: 

He forgive til whom He please! h 
And He punishelh whom He 


And to Allah belongeth' 34 
The dominion of the heavens 
And the earth, and all 
That is between: 

And unto Him 

Is the final goal {of all).” 

19. O People of the Book I 
Now hath come unto you. 

Making (things) clear unto you. 

" /'-if" > 

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p 'cgti p pc zpgfck 

717. The most honoured of the prophets of Allah are but men. All power belongs 
to Allah, and not to any man. Allah's creation may take many forms, hut because in 
any particular form it is different from what we see daily around us, it does not cease 
to be Creation, or to be subject to the power of Allah. No creature can be God. 

718. Som of God: Cf, Job, xxxviii, 7: ' When the morning stars sang together, and 
all the suns of God shouted for joy.” In the 29th Psalm, 1st verse* the authorised 
Translation "Q ye mighty" should apparently be "O ye sons of Elim'\ HI being a name 
of God. Cf also Genesis, vi. 2: “The sons of God saw the daughters of men,” 

Beloved Cf. Psalms, cxxvii, 2: "He giveth his beloved sleep." 

If used figuratively, these and like words refer to the love of Allah. Unfortunately, 
“son" used in a physical sense, or “beloved" in an exclusive sense as if Allah loved only 
the Jews, make a mockery of religion 

719. This refrain in the last verse negatives the idea of sovtship, and in this verse 
negatives the idea of an exclusive “Beloved", In both cases it means that Allah is 
independent of physical relationship or exclusive partiality. 

- 287 - 

SJ A. 19-21 

J.6 ^UU^Ll 

o s-ULll ij _ 4 — 


21 . 

Our Messenger, after the break 213 
in (I he senes of) our messengers. 
Lest ye should say: 

‘There came unto us 
No bringer of glad tidings 
And no warned: 

But now hath come 
Unto you a bringer 
Of glad tidings 
And a Warner. 

And A llali hath power 
Over all things, 


Remember Moses said 
To Ids people: “O my People! 
Call in remembrance the favour 
Of Allah unto you, when He 
Produced prophets among you, 21 
Made you kings, :: and gave 
You what He had not given 
To any other among the peoples. 

“O my people! enter 24 
The holv land which 

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72() The sis hundred years (in round figures) between Christ and Muhammad were 
trills the dark ages of the world. Religion was corrupted: the standard of morals fell low: 
many false systems and heresies arose: and there was a break in the succession of 
prophets until the advent of Muhammand 

721 There was a long line of patriarchs and prophets Ixjfore Moses, e g . Abraham, 
Isaac. Isinft II, Jacob, etc, 

722, From the slavery of Egypt the Children of Israel were made free and 
independent, and thus each man became as it were a king, il only he had obeyed Allah 
and followed the lead of Moses. 

723, Cf lixod, \t\. 5: “Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep 
my covenant, then ye shall he a peculiar treasure unto live above all people." Israel was 
chosen to be the vehicle of Allah's message, the highest honour which any nation can 

724, We now come to the events detailed in the 1 3th and 1 4th chapters of the Ho ok 
of Numbers in the Old 'lest ament. Read these as a Commentary, and examine a good 
map of the Sinai Peninsula* showing its connections with Egypt on the west. North-West _ 

- 288 - 

S,5 A. 21-23 

J. 6 


Allah hath assigned unto you. 

And turn not buck 
Ignomitiiuuslv, for then 
Will ye be overthrown. 

To your own ruin*” 

12, They said; “O Moses! 

In this land arc a people 
Of exceeding strength: 72 * 

Never shall wc enter it 
Until they leave it: 

If (once) they leave. 

Then shall we enter.” 

23. (But) among (their) God-fearing men 
Were two on whom 
Allah had bestowed Mis grace: 

They said: “Assault them 
At the (proper) Gate: 

When once ye arc in. 

Victory will be yours; 

But on Allah pul your trust 
If ye have faith/ 1 

3 ^ 

* k jl w' v i ^ 


zi I 

Arabia on the east, and Palestine on the north-east. We may suppose that Israel crossed 
from Egypt into the Peninsula somewhere near lire northern extremity of the Gulf of 
Suez. Moses organised and numbered the people, and instituted the Priesthood. They 
went south about 200 miles to Mount Sinai where the Torah was received. Then, perhaps 
a hundred and fifty miles north, was the desert of Pa ran, dose to the southern borders 
of Canaan. Prom the camp there twelve men were sent to spy out the land, and they 

penetrated as far as Hebron, say about 150 miles north of their camp, about 20 miles 

south of the future Jerusalem. They saw a rich country, and brought from it pomegranates 
and figs and a bunch of grapes so heavy that if had to be carried by two men on a staff. 

They came back and reported that the land was rich, but the men there were too strong 

for them. The people of Israel had no courage and no faith, and Moses remonstrated 
with (hem* 

725. The people were not willing to follow the lead of Moses, and were not walling 
to fight for their "inheritance.” In effect they said: "Turn out the enemy first, and then 
we shall enter into possession," In Allah's Law wc must work and strive for what we 
wish to enjoy. 

726. Among those who relumed after spying out the land were two men who had 
faith and courage. They were Joshua and Caleb, Joshua afterwards succeeded Moses in 
the leadership after 4(1 years. These two men pleaded for an immediate entry through 
the proper Gate, which I understand to mean, ‘after taking all due precautions and 
making all due preparations”, Cf. ii,189 and n, 203. But of course, they said, they must put 
their trust in Allah for victory. 

- 289 - 

S ,5 A. 24-26 

J, 6 ^LJI ^ L» 

0 a JJlil 

They said: “O Moses 
Wc shall never enter it 
As long as they are 
In it. 

Go thou. and thy Lord 
And fight ye two. 

While wc sit here 


He said: “O my Lord! 

1 have power only 
Over myself and my brother : 72s 
So separate us from this 
Rebellious people!" 

Allah said: ‘Therefore 
Will the land he out 
Of their reach for forty years 
In distraction will they 
Wander through the land: 

Rut sorrow thou not 
Over these rebellious people. 


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121 The advice of Joshua and Caleb, and the proposals of Moses under divine 
instructions were unpalatable to the crowd, whose prejudices were further in (lamed by the 
other ten men who had gone with Joshua and Caleb. They made an "evil report, “ and 
were frightened by the great stature of the Canaanttes. the crowd was in open rebellion, 
was prepared to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb, and return to Egypt. Their 
reply to Moses was full of irony, insolence, blasphemy, and cowardice. In effect they said: 
"You lalk of your Chid and all that: go with vour God and fight there il you like: we 
shall sit here and watch." 

72K, "Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the 
congregation. (Num. xiv. >). According to the words m the Old Testament story, Allah 
said: "I will smile them with the pestilence, and disinherit them.* 4 (Num. \iv. 12), Moses 
prayed and interceded. But as we are told here, (a spiritual touch not found in the Jewish 
story). Moses was careful to separate himself and his brother from the rebellion. 

72*7. The punishment of the rebellion of these stiff-necked people, rebellion that was 
repeated "these ten times" (Num. xiv, 22) and more, was that they were left to wander 
distractedly hither and thither through the wilderness for forty years. That generation was 
noi to see the Holy Land. All those that were twenty years old and upwards were to 
the in the wilderness: "your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness." (Num. xiv. 2V). Duly 
those who were then children would reach (he promised land And so it happened, F rom 
the desert of Par an they wandered south, north, and east for forty years, Prom the head 
of what is now the Gulf of Aqaba, they travelled north, keeping to the east side of the 
depression of which the Dead Sea and the river Jordan are portions. Forty years 
afterwards they crossed the Jordan opposite what is now Jericho, but by that time Moses, 
Aaron, and the whole of the elder generation had died. 

* y ' ■ ijjfiiV yV w 



- 290 - 

S.5 A. 27-29 

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27* Recite to them the truth m 
Of the story of the two sons 1[ 

Ot Adam. Behold! they each 
Presented a sacrifice (to Allah): 

It was accepted from one* 

But not from the other. 

Said the latter: "Be sure 
I will slay thee/' "Surely*” 

Said the former* "Allah 
Doth accept of the sacrifice 
Of those who are righteous* 

28. ‘if thou dost stretch thy hand 
Against me, to slay me* 

It is not for me to stretch 
My hand against thee 
To slay thee: for 1 do fear 
Allah* the Cherisher of the Worlds* 

29. "For me* 1 intend to (cl 
Thee draw on thyself 
Mv sin as well as thine. 

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73*1 Literally; "recite in them in truth the story"', etc. The point is that the story 
in Gen iv. 1-15 is a hare narrative, not including the lessons now to he enforced. The 
Prophet is cold now to supply the truth of the mailer* the details that will enforce the 

731 The two sons of Adam were H&biL (in the I nglish Bibcl. Abel) anti QUbfl (in 
Fnulish, Cain). Cain was the elder. and Abel the younger. -the righteous and innocent 
one Presuming on the right of the elder, Cain was puffed up with arrogance and jealousy, 
which ted turn to commit the crime ot murder. Among the Christians, Cain was the ivpc 
of the jew as against Abel the Christian* The Jew tried to kill Jesus and exterminate the 
Christian. In the same way, us against Muhammad* the younger brother of the Semitic 
family Cain was the type of the Old Testament and New Testament people* who tried 
to resist and kill .Muhammad and put down his people . 

732. My sitt ax n ell as thine. “My sin'* has been interpreted as "the sin against me* 
in that thou slayest me“: in that case thy "sin" may mean either ‘Thy crime in committing 
a murder." or "thy sin against thyself, for the crime causes real loss to thyself in the 
Hereafter." See the last clause of the next verse. 



-291 - 

S,5 A. 29-32 

For thou wilt he among 
'Hie Companions of the Fire, 
Ami that is the reward 
Of those who do wrong. 


The (selfish) soul of the other 
Led him to the murder 
Of his brother: he murdered 
l 1 ini, and became (himself) 

One of the lost ones. 

Then Allah sent a raven. 

Who scratched the ground, 

To show him how to hide 
The naked body of his brother, 
“Woe is me!" said lie; 

“Was 1 not even able 
To be as this raven. 

And to hide the naked body 
Of my brother?” Then he became 
Full of regrets- 

, 735 



On that account: We ordained 
For the Children of Israel 

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733. Abel's speech is full of meaning Me is innocent and Godfearing To the threat 

of death heh! out by the other, he returns a calm reply, aimed at reforming the 
other, "Surety/ “ he pleads, "if vour sacrifice was not accepted, there was something wrong 
in you, for Allah is just and accepts the sacrifice of the righteous, tf this does not deter 
you. I am not going to retaliate, though there is as much power in me against you as 
you have against me. I fear rny Maker, for t know He cherishes all His Creation. Let 

me warn you that you are doing wrong. I do not intend even to resist, but do you know 

what the consequences will he to you? You will be in torment," 

734. The innocent unselfish pleading of I he younger brother had no effect, for the 

soul of the other was full of pride, selfishness and jealousy lie committed the murder, 
hut in doing so, mined his own self. 

735. Sau-at may mean "corpse", with a suggestion of nakedness and shame in two 
senses: (If the sense of being exposed without burial, and t2) the sense of being insulted 
by being violently deprived by the unwarranted murder, of the soul which inhabited it, 
the soul, too, of a brother. 

736. The thought at last came home to the murderer It was dreadful indeed to stay 
any onc-ihe more so as he was a brother, and an innocent righteous brother! But worse 
still, the murderer had not even the decency to bury the corpse, and of this simple duty 
he was reminded by a raven -a black hird usually held in contempt! Mis regret was on 
that account. That was no true repentance. 

- 292 - 

S .5 A. 32-33 


0 LijlLl ajj~- 


Thtil if any one slew 
A pcrson-unlcss it he 
For murder or for spending 
Mischief in the land- 
It would he as if 
He slew the whole people: * 
And if any one saved a life. 

It would be ns if he saved 
The life oF the whole people. 
Then although there came 
To them Our Messengers 
With Clear Signs, ycl. 

Even after that, many 
Of them continued to commit 
Excesses in the land. 

The punishment of those 
Who wage war against Allah 
And 1 1 is Messenger, and strive 
With might and main 
For mischief through the land 
Is: execution, or crucifixion* 

Or the cutting off of hands 
And feel from opposite sides, w 
Or exile from the land: 


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737 The story tif Cain is referred to in a few graphic details in order to tell the 
story of Israel. Israel rebelled against Allah, slew and insulted righteous men who did 
them no harm hut on the contrary came in all humility When Allah withdrew His favour 
from Israel because of its sins and bestowed it on brother nation, the jealousy of Israel 
plunged it deeper into sin. To kill or seek to kill an individual because he represents an 
ideal is to kilt all who upold the ideal. On the other hand* to save an individual hie in 
the same circumstances is to save a whole community. What could he stronger 
condemnation of individual assassination and revenge? 

73S For t lie double crime of treason against the State* combined with treason against 
Allah, as shown hy overt crimes* lour alternative punishments are mentioned, any one 
of which is to be applied according to the crime commuted* 112 ., execution (cutting off 
of the head), crucifixion, maiming, or exile. These were features of the Criminal Law 
then and for centuries afterwards* except that tortures such as "hanging, drawing, and 
quartering" in English Law , and piercing of eyes and leaving the unfortunate victim 
exposed to a tropical sun. which was practised in Arabia* and all such tortures were 
abolished In any case sincere repentance before it was too late was recognised as a 
ground for mercy. 

739* Understood to mean the right hand and the left foot. 

* 293 - 

S.5 A. 33-36 

J. 6 

o =jjiii 5 j I*** 

Th;ii is their disgrace 
hi this world, arid 
A heavy punishment is theirs 
In (he I (ereafler; 

Except for those who repent 
Before they fall 
Into your Power: 

In I hat case, know 
Thai Allah is Oft-forgiving, 

Most Merciful. 


<> ye who believe! 

Do your duly to Allah. 74,1 
Seek the means 
Of approach unto Him. 

And strive (with might 
And main) in His cause: 

That ye may prosper. 41 

As to those who reject 
Faith -if they had 
Everything on earth. 

And twice repeated. 

To give as ransom 

For ihe Chastisement of the Day 

Of Judgment, it would 

Never be accepted of them. 

Theirs would be 

A grievous Chastisement 

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740, Tttqwa here tm» might he translated “fear of Allah'', hut the very next clause 
shows that “fear of Allah" does mu mean “fear" m the ordinary sense, which would 
make you avoid the object of fear. On the contrary the “fear of Allah" is the intense 
desire to avoid everything that is against lbs Will and Law li is in fuel duty lo Allah, 
for we are told to seek ardently the means by which we may approach Him, and that 
can only be done by striving with might and main for His cause. 

741. “Prosper" in the real sense, for that is alt that matters, as the life of this world 
is brief and fleeting, ami of small account as against Eternity. 

294 - 

S.5 A. 37-40 

d Ujlil 

37. Their wish vvill be 

To gel out of the Fire* 

But never will they 
Get out therefrom: 

Their Chastisement will be 
One that endures. 

38. As to the thief/ 42 
Male or female. 

Cut off his or her hands: 

A retribution for their deed 
And exemplary punishment 
From Allah. 

And Allah is Exalted in Power, 

Full of Wisdom. 

39. But if the thief repent 
After his crime. 

And amend his conduct, 

Allah tumeth to him 
In forgiveness; for Allah 
Is Oft-forgivingj Most Merciful. 

40. Knowcst thou not 741 
That to Allah (alone) 
lielongeth the dominion 

Of the heavens and the earth? 
lie punisheth whom He plcuseth, 
And He forgive th whom 1 ie pi easel h: 

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742. Mete we touch upon jurisprudence. The Canon l_aw jurists are not unanimous 
as to the value of the property stolen, which would involve the penalty of (lie cutting 
off of the hand. The majority hold that petty thefts are exempt from this punishment. 
The general opinion is that only one hand should be cut off for the first theft, on the 
principle dial "if thy hand or thy loot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from 
thee" (Matt, xviii. ft), Apparently in the age of Jesus thieves were crucified (Matt, wvii 

743* Punishment ready does nut belong to mortals, hut to Allah alone. Only* in order 
to keep civil society together, and protect innocent people from crime, certain principles 
arc laid down on which people can build up their criminal law. But we must always 
remember that Allah not only punishes but forgives, and forgiveness is the attribute which 
is more prominently placed before us. h is not our wisdom that can really define the 
bounds of forgiveness or punishment, but ifis Witt or Plan, which is the true standard 
of righteousness and justice 

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- 295 * 

S.5A.40-4] J. 6 ^jLJI «.jJL| a Sj_^ 

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And Allah hath power 
Over all things. 

41. O Messenger! let not 

Those grieve thee, who race 
Each other into Unbelief: 744 
(Whether it be) among those 
Who say “We believe” 

With their lips but 
Whose hearts have no faith; 

Or it be among the Jcws- 
Men who will listen 
To any lie*- will listen 
Even to otliers who have 
Never so much as come 74 * 

To thee. They change the words 
From their (right) places 74 * 

They say* 

“If ye are given this. 

Take it* but if not, 

Beware!” If any one’s trial 
Is intended by Allah* thou hast 
No authority in the least 
For him against Allah, 

For such-it is not 
Allah’s will to purify 
Their hearts. f : or them 


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744. two classes of men are meant* ii*\* the Hypocrites and the Jews Fur both ol 
[hem Al-Mustnfa laboured earnestly amt assiduously, and it must have been a cause of 
great grief and disappointment tn him that some among them showed so much insincerity* 
cunning, and hardness of heart, these are types not yet extinct, 

745, 7 here were men among the Jews who were eager to catch up any lie against 
the Prophet* They had their ears open even to tales from people who had never so much 
as come near to the Prophet II we undcistand “for” instead of "to” lie fore "others” 
(for the Arabic word would bear both meanings)* the sense will be: They are keen 
listeners or spies for any lies they can catch; anti they will act as spies lor others (their 
Rabbis* etc.) who are in the background but to whom they carry false tales. 

74h. C/* v. 13. The addition of the words min hti'di here suggests the change of 
words from their right times as well as places. They did not deal honestly with their Law-, 
and misapplied it* by distorting the meaning Or it may be that as tale-bearers they 
distorted the meaning by misrepresenting the context. 

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* 296 - 

S.5 A. 4 1*43 

There is disgrace 
In this world, and 
In the Hereafter 
A heavy punishment. 

(They arc fond of) listening 
To falsehood, of devouring 747 
Anything for hidden. 

If they do come to thee. 
Either judge between them. 
Or decline to interfere. 748 
If thou decline, they cannot 
Hurt thee in the least. 

If thou judge, judge 
hi equity between them. 

For Allah loveth those 
Who judge in equity. 

But why do they c»me 7w 
To thee for decision. 

When they have {their own) 
Torah before them 7- 
Thcrein is the (plain) 
Command of Allah; yet 
Even after that, they would 
Turn away. For they 
Are not (really) 

People of Faith. 

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747. Devouring anything forbidden: both in a literal and in a figurative sense. In the 
figurative sense, tt would he: the taking of usury or bribes, or taking undue advantage 
of people's weak position or their own fiduciary powers to add to their own wealth. 

748. Where it is merely a trick to catch out the unwary, a just man may honourably 
decline to interfere in a cause submitted io him. as also m a ease where the parties are 
not honestly desirous of justice, hut each hopes that some partiality will he show n to it. 

749. This is a searching question as to the motive of the Jews m bringing their eases 
for decision to the Prophet. They came either (1) to ridicule whatever he said, or (2) 
to deceive him as to facts and snatch a favourable decision which was against equity. If 
their own Law did not suit their selfish interests* they sometimes twisted it. Rut 
Muhammad was always inflexible in his justice. 

* 297 - 

S.5 A. 44-45 


0 2 jJlil * 

it was We who revealed 
The Torah (to Moses): therein 
Was guidance and light. Nl 
By its standard have been judged 
The Jews, by the Prophets 
Who bowed (as in Islam) 

To Allah’s Will, by the Rabbis 151 
And the Doctors of Law: 

For to them was entrusted 
The protection of Allah's Book, 
And they were witnesses thereto: 
Therefore fear not men, 

Bui fear Me, and sell not 

My Signs for a miserable price.' V1 

If any do fail to judge 

By what Allah 

1 lath revealed, they are 


We ordained therein for them: * 
"Life for life, eve for eve. 

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751), Guidance, with reference to conduct, light, with reference to insight into the 
higher realms of the faith 

751 Ruhhiini may, 1 think, be rightly translated by the Jewish title of Rabbi for their 
learned men. Jewish learning is identified with Rabbinical literature, Ahbhr is the plural 
of hi hr or hahr. by which we may understand Jewish Doctors of Law Later the term 
was applied to those of in her religions, 

752 They were living witnesses to the truth of Scripture, and could testify that they 
had made it known to the people: Cf, ii, 143, and iv, 135. 

753. Two charges are made, against the Jews: (I) that even the hooks which they 
hud, they twisted in meaning, to suit their own purposes, because they I eared men rather 
than Allah: (2) that what they had was hut fragments of the original Law given to Moses, 
mixed up with a lot of semi-historical and legendary matter, and some line poetry. The 
Tutinir mentioned in the Our-an is not the Old Testament as we have it: nor is it even 
the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament, containing the Law embedded 
in a great deal of semi-historical and legendary narrative}. See Appendix IT on the Taitrat 
(printed at the end of this Sura). 

754. The retaliation is prescribed in three places in the Pen l a touch, v/z». Exod. xxL 
23*25 Leviticus xxiv. 18*21, and DetlK xix, 21. The wording in the three quotations is 
different, but in none of them is found the additional rider for mercy, as here. Note that 
in Matt. v. 38. Jesus quotes the Old Law “eye for eye," etc,, and modifies it in the 

,, ,,, 

- 298 - 

S. 5 A. 45-47 

Nose for nose, ear for ear. 

Tooth for tooth, and wounds 

Equal for equal/' But if 

Any one remits the retaliation 

By way of chanty, it is 

An act of atonement for himself. 755 

And if any fail to judge 

By what Allah 

Math revealed, they are 

Wrong-doers, 756 

46, And in their footsteps 
We sent Jesus the son 
Of Mary, confirming 

The Torah that had come 
Before him: We sent him 
The Gospel: therein 
Was guidance and light/ 5 
And confirmation of the Torah 
That had come before him: 

A guidance and an admonition 
To those who fear Allah. 

47. Let the People of the Gospel 
Judge by what Allah hath revealed 
Therein. If any do fail 

To judge by 

What Allah hath revealed. 


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; direction of forgiveness, but the Quranic mjunciion is more practical. Even where the 
injured one forgives, ihe Stale or Ruler is competent to take such action as is necessary 
for the preservation of law and order in Society. For crime has a hearing ihat goes beyond 
ihe interesis of the person injured: the Community is affected: see Q. v. 32. 

755. This is not part of the Mosaic Law, but l he teaching of Jesus and of 
Muhammad. Notice how the teaching of Jesus is gradually introduced as leading up to 
the Qur-an, 

756. The seeming repetitions at the end of verses -17, 48 and 50 arc not real 
repetitions, the significant words in the three cases are: Unbelievers, wrong-doers, and 
rebellious: and each fils the context If the Jews tamper with their books they are 
Unbelievers: if they give false judgments, they are wrong-doers. If the Christians follow 
not their light, they arc rebellious, 

757. Guidance and tight; see n 750 above. For the meaning of Ihe Gospel (Injil), 
see Appendix III, “Gn the frt/ff", (printed at the end of this Sura) 

irsr V jv 

- 299 - 

S.5 A. 47-48 

0 eXlIl 

To thee We sent the Scripture 
In truth, confirming 
The scripture that came 
Before it. and guarding it 
In safety: so judge 
Between them hy what 
Allah hath revealed. 

And follow not l heir vain 
Desires, diverging 
From the Truth that hath come 
To thee. To each among you 
Have We prescribed a Law 
Anil an Open Way.™ 

If Allah had so willed. 

He would have made you n1 
A single People, but (His 
Plan is) to test you in what 
Me hath given you: so strive 
As in a race in all virtues. 


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7?S. See n. 75ft above. 

75h After the enrniption of the older revelations. the CJti r-iln comes with a twofold 
purpose: (Ij to confirm the true and original Message, and (2) to guard it. or art as a 
check to ns interpretation. The Arabic word Muhaimin is very comprehensive in meaning, 
ft means one who safeguards, winches over, stands witness, preserves, and upholds The 
Quran safeguards ‘the Book", tor it has preserved within it the teachings of oil the 
former Books, h watches over these Hooks in the sense that it will not let their true 
teachings to he lost. It supports and upholds these Books in the sense that it corroborates 
the Word of Allah which has remained intact in them. It stands a witness because tt hears 
testimony to the Word of Allah contained in these Books and helps to sort n out from 
the i me rp reunions and commentaries of the people which were mixed with it: what is 
confirmed h> the Qur-an is the Word of Allah and what is against it is that of the people, 

760. Law: shir* at = rules of practical conduct. Open Way: Xtinltaj - The guidance 
of the Prophet in all aspects id life. 

761, By origin mankind were a single people or nation i%, I, and ii. 213. That being 
so Allah could have kept us all alike, with one language, one kind of disposition, and 
one set of physical conditions (including climate) to live in. But in Mis wisdom. He gives 
us diversity in these lliings. not only at any given time. Inn in diflerenl periods and ages, 
Tli is tests our capacity for Unity (Wahdnniyai) still more, and accentuates the need of 
Un«\ and Islam 

- 300 - 

S.5 A.48-51 

J. 6 tji-l 

0 iJulil cj j, 

The goal of you all is to Allah 
It is He that will show you 
The truth of the matters 
In which ye dispute ; 7<,z 

49. Arid til is (He commands): 

Judge thou between them 

By what Allah hath revealed. 
And follow not their vain 
Desires, hut beware of them 
Test they beguile thee 
From any of that (teaching) 
Which All ail hath sent down 
To thee. And if they turn 
Away, be assured that 
For some of their crimes 
It is Allah's purpose to punish 
Them, And truly most men 
Are rebellious. 

50. Do they then seek after 

A judgment of (the Days 763 
Of) ignorance? But who. 

For a people whose faith 
Is assured, can give 
Better judgment than Allah? 


51. 0 yc who believe! 

Take not the Jews 
And the Christians 

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762. Men are wont to make conflicting claims regarding Allah, the ultimate destiny 
of man. and other questions of vital imparlance. No matter how vehement and eloquent 
the proponents of false doctrines might be, the it el forts will prove fruitless and ii will 
be indisputably clear on the Day of Judgment as to who entertained false notions and 
who cherished the truth 

763, The Days of Ignorance were the days of tribalism, feuds and selfish accentuation 
of differences in man. Those days are really not yet over, U is the mission of Islam to 
lake us away from that false menial attitude, towards the true attitude of Unity, If our 
Faith is certain (and not merely a matter of words). Allah will guide us to dial Unity. 



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For your friends and protectors;' 64 
They arc but friends and protectors 
To each other. And he 
Amongst you that turns to them 
{For friendship) is of them. 

Verily Allah guideth not 
A people unjust, 

52, Those in whose hearts 7 ^ 

Is a disease-thou seest 
How eagerly they run about 
Amongst them, saying; 

"We do fear lest a change 
Of fortune bring us disaster," 

Ah l perhaps Allah will give 
(Thee) victory, or a decision 
From Him 

Then will they regret 

Of the thoughts which they secretly 

Harboured in their hearts. 

53. And those who believe 
Will say: "Are these 
The men who swore 
Their strongest oaths by Allah, 

That they were with yuu? ^ 

All that they do 
Will be in vain. 

And they will fall 
Into (nothing but) ruin. 

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764. 1 tint is. look not to them for help anti comfort. They are more likely lo combine 
against you than to help you. And this happened more that) once in the lifetime of the 
Prophet, and in aficr-ages again and again, lie who associates with them and shares their 
counsels must he counted as of them. The trimmer loses whichever way the wheel of 
fortune turns. 

765. Cf. ii. III. 

766. The Hypocrites, while matters were doubtful, pretended to he wiih Muslims, but 
were in league with their enemies When matters came lo a decision and Allah granted 
victory to Islam, their position w'tts awkward. They were not only disowned by the 
Muslims, hut the Muslims could well say in reproach to their enemies: "Are these the 
men who swore friendship for you? What was their friendship worth lo you? Where are 
they now?". 

- 302 - 

S.5 A, 54-56 


0 ojdlld l 

54. 0 ye who believe! 

If any from among you 
Turn back from Ins Faith, 
Soon will Allah produce 
A people whom 1 le will love 
As they will love Him,- 
Lowly with the Believers. 
Mighty against the Rejecters, 
Fighting in the Way of Allah. 
And never afraid 
Of the reproaches 
Of such as find fault/ 6 ' 

That is the Grace of Allah, 
Which He will bestow 
On whom lie pleaseth. 

And Allah encompasseth all. 
And He knoweth all things. 

55. Your (real) friends are 
(No less than) Allah, 

1 1 is Messenger, and the 
Believers - those who 
Establish regular prayers 
And pay Zakal 
And they bow 
Down humbly (in worship). 

56. As to those who turn 
(For friendship) to Allah, 

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767. As "most men are rebellious" (v. 49), it is inevitable that there should he 
apostates even from such a religion of reason and common-sense as Mam. But here ts 
a warning to the Muslim body that they should not repeal the history of the Jews, and 
become so self-satisfied or arrogant as to depart from the spirit of Allah's tcachimi. 11 
they do the loss will he their own. Allah’s bounty is not confined to one group or section 
of humanity. He can always raise up people who will follow the true spirit of Islam. That 
spirit defined in two ways: first in general terms: they will love Allah and Allah will 
love them; and secondly , by specific signs: amongst the Brethren, then attitude will be 
that of humility, hut to wrong doers they will offer no mealy-mouthed compromises: they 
will always strive and fight for truth and right; they will know no fear, either physical, 
or that more insidious form, which says: 'What will people say it we act thus? They are 
too great in mind to be haunted by any such thought. I or, as the next verse says, their 
friends are Allah. His Prophet and His people, the people who judge rightly, without 
fear or favour 

- 303 - 

S. 5 A, 56-59 

J. 6 


0 = Jjli.1 s 

His Messenger, and [he 
Believers -it is 
The parly of Allah 
Thai must certainly triumph * 


57. O ye who believe! 

Take not for friends 
And protectors those 
Who lake your religion 
For a mockery or sport t - ri ' 
Whether among those 
Who received the Scripture 
Before you. or among those 
Who reject Faith: 

But fear ye Allah. 

If ye have Faith (indeed), 

58. When ye proclaim 
Your call to prayer. 

They take it (tun) 

As mockery and sport; 

That is because they are 
A people without undemanding, 

59. Say: “O people of the Book! 
Do ye disapprove of us 

For no other reason than 
That we believe in Allah. 

And the revelation 
That hath come to us 
And that which came 
Before (uh), and (perhaps) 

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768. It is tun right dial we should he in intimate association with those to whom 
religion is either a subject of mockery or at best is nothing hut a plaything. They may 
be amused, or they may have other motives for encouraging you. But your association 
with them will sup the earnestness of yout Faith, and make you cynical and insincere. 

- 304 - 

S.5 A. 59-62 

J. 6 I — l! 

0 aJLilil ojj^ 

That most of you 

Are rebellious and disobedient ?' ,7W 

60. Say: “Shall I point out 

To you something much worse 
'I lian this, (as judged) 

By the treatment it received 
From Allah? Those who 
incurred the curse of Allah 
And His wrath, those of whom some 
1 !c transformed into apes and 

swine , 771 

Those who worshipped Evil (Tagut)- 
These are (many times) worse 
In rank, and far more astray 
From the even Path!” 

61. When they come to thee. 

They say: “We believe”: 

But in fact they enter 
With a disbelief, 

And they go out 
With the same. 

But Allah knoweth fully 
All that they hide. 

62. Many of them dost thou 
See, racing each other 
In sin and transgression 

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769. There is the most biting irony in dvis and the next verse. You People of the 
Bock! Do you hate us because we believe in Allah and not only our scripture, but yours 
also? Perhaps you hate us because we obey and you are in rebellion against Allah! Why 
hate us? There are worse things than our obedience and our Faith, Shall 1 tell you some 
of them? Our test will be: what treatment Allah meted oui to the things 1 mention. Who 
were the people who incurred the curse of Allah? (See l)eul. xi. 28, and xxviii, 15-68: 
and numerous passages like Hosea viii, 14, and ix. 1), Who provoked Allah's wrath? (See 
numerous passages like Dent. L 34: Malt. ML 7). Who forsook Allah, and worshipped 
evil? (See Jeremiah, xvi, U-13). That is your record. Is that why you hate us?" 

770. For apes see Q, M. 65. For men possessed by devils, and the devils being sent 
into swine, see Matt. viii. 28-32. 

- 305 - 

S.5 A. 62-64 J. 6 ^ ® SJLJlll &j_j . — 1 

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And iheir eating of tilings 7 ' 1 
Forbidden* Evil indeed 
Are the things that they do. 

63. Why do not the Rabbis 

And the doctors of law forbid 
Them from their (habit 
Of) uttering sinful words 
And eating things forbidden? 

Evil indeed are their works. 

64. The Jews say: “Allah’s hand 
Is tied up," Be [heir hands 
Tied up and be they accursed 
For the (blasphemy) they utter. 
Nay, both llis hands 

Are widely outstretched: 
f ie giveth and spendeth 
(Of His bounty) as He pleaseth. 
But the revelation that 
Cometh to thee from Allah 
Increased! in most of them 
Their obstinate rebellion' 7 
And blasphemy. Amongst them 
We have placed enmity 7 74 
And hatred till the Day 






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771, Eating of things forbidden: may he construed in a literal or a figurative sense. 

I mm its juxtaposition with sin and hatred* it is better to construe it in a figurative sense, 
as referring to their fraudulent misappropriations of other people's property or trust 
property. "Eating” is used in v, 66 below in the general sense of enjoyment and 

772. Cf. v, t2. and ii* 245. for a "beautiful loan to Allah”, and til, IH1, for the 
blasphemous taunt, “Then Allah is poor!” It is another form of the taunt to say* "liven 
Allah's hands are tied up. He is dose-fisted lie does not give!” This blasphemy is 
repudiated. On the contrary, boundless is Allah's bounty, and He gives* as it were, with 
both hands outstretched * a figure of speech for unbounded liberality* 

771. Their jeaiousy-beeause At- Mustafa is chosen for Allah's Messagc-is so great that 
it only confirms and strengthens their rebel lion and blasphemy. 

774. C/. v. 14. where the eternal warring of the Christian sects, among themselves 
and against the Jews, is referred to. The reference is to the whole of the People of the 
Book. Jews and Christians -I heir internal squabbles and their external disputes, quarrels* 
and wars. 


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- 306 - 

S.5 A. 64-66 

Of Judgment. Evcr> lime 
They kindle ihc fire of war, 

Allah doth extinguish it; 

But they (ever) strive 
To do mischief on earth. 

And Allah loveth not 
Those who do mischief. 775 

65. If only the People of the Book 
Had believed and been righteous. 
We should indeed have 

Blotled out their iniquities 
And admitted them 
To Gardens of Bliss. 

66. If only they had stood fast 
By the Torah, the Gospel, 

And all the revelation that was sent 
To them from their Lord, 

They would have eaten 
Both from above them 
And from below their feet. 77,1 
There is from among them 
A parly of the right course; 

But many of them 
l otlow a course that is evil. 

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775. Hit: argument of the whole verse may be thus stated. The Jews blaspheme and 
mock, and because of their jealousy, the more they are taught, the more obstinate they 
become in their rebellion. But what good will it do to them? Their selfishness and spite 
sow quarrels among themselves, which will not be healed till the Day of Judgment. When 
they stir up wars, especially against the innocent. Allah’s Mercy is poured down like a 
flood of water to extinguish them. But their wickedness continues to devise ever new- 
mischief And Allah loves not mischief or those who do mischief . 

776. To eat (akahi) is a very comprehensive word, and denotes enjoyment generally, 
physical, social, mental and moral, and spiritual. “To eat what is lor hidden” in verses 
62 and 65 referred to taking unlawful profit, from usury or trust funds or in other ways. 
Here '"eating” would seem to mean receiving satisfaction or happiness in this life as well 
as m the life to come. "From above them*' may refer to heavenly or spiritual satifaetion, 
and "from below their feet” to earthly satisfaction. But it is better to take the words 
as a general idiom, and understand "satisfaction or happiness from every side.” 


- 307 - 



. O Messenger! prod Him 
The (Message) which hath been 
Sent to thcc (rum thy Lord. 

If tlum didst not, thou 
Wouldst not have fulfilled 
And proclaimed His Mission. 

And Allah will defend thee 
From men (who mean mischief). 

For Allah guidelh not 
Those who reject Faith. 

68. Say: ,f o People of the Book! 

Ye have no ground 
Id stand upon unless 
Ye stand fast by the Torah* 

The Gospel, and all tile revelation 
That has come to you from 
Your Lord." ll is the revelation 
That comet li to thee from 
Thv Lord, that increase th in most 
Of them their obstinate 
Rebellion and blasphemy* 

Hut sorrow thou not 
Over (these) people without Faith. * 

69* Those who believe (in the Our-an), 
Those who follow the Jewish 


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777 Muhammad had main difficulties to comend with, many enemies and dangers 
to avoid. Mis mission must be fulfilled. And he must-as he did -go forward and proclaim 
that Message and Udlil lus mission, trusting to Allah for protection, and unconcerned il 
people who had lost all sense ot right rejected it or threatened lum 

77 K. In v. 26 ( Moses was told not to sorrow over a rebellious people. Here 
Muhammad is told not to sorrow over people without Faith, The second situation is even 
more trying than the first. Rebellion may he a passing phase Want of faiih is an attitude 
of mind that is we] b nigh hopeless. Yet the Prophet patiently reasoned with them and bore 
then taunts and insults. If. ihe argument runs* you do not believe m anything* even in 
the things that you may he expected to believe in. how can you receive in Faith Allah's 
Message that has conic in another form? In fact your jealousy adds to your obstinacy 
and unbelief. 

- 308 * 

S. 5 A. 69-71 

i. 6 j^LJl *>JLl 

And ihc Sabians and the Christians,- 
Any who believe in Allah 
And the Last Day, 

And work righteousness 
On them shall be no fear. 

Nor shall they grieve. 

70. We took the Covenant 
Of the Children of Israel 
And sent them Messengers, 

Every time there came 

To them a Messenger 
With what they themselves 
Desired nut-some 
(Of these) they called 
Impostors, and some they slay. 7 ' 1 

71. They thought there would be 
No trial (or punishment); 

So they became blind and deaf;™ 1 
Yet Allah (in mercy) turned 

f A > . 

El O* 

779. Mere, as in Sura Al-Baqarah (ii; 62), the Qur-an underscores the importance 
of true and genuine faith, which is to he judged by a sincere belief in Allah and man's 
accountability let Him hacked by a righteous conduct rather than by mere forms or labels, 
A I both the places it repudiates the false claims of the People of the Book that they 
had a special relationship with Allah for they were the children of Abraham; that they 
were a chosen people with special privileges, and no matter what they did, their high 
status would remain unaffected. Mere this false notion is refuted and the People of the 
Book are being reminded that it is through sincere belief and righteous conduct rather 
than pretentious claims that man can win his [ ord\ pleasure and achieve ultimate success. 
The verse does not purport to lay down an exhaustive list of the articles of faith. Nor 
does it seek to spell out the essentials of a genuine belief in Allah, which has no meaning 
unless it is accompanied by belief in Mis Prophets for it is through their agency alone 
that we know Allah’s Will and can abide by it in our practical lives. This is especially 
true of lbs final Prophet. Muhammad (peace be on him} whose message is universal* and 
not confined to any particular group or section of humanity. Belief in the Prophcthood 
of Muhammad (peace be on him) is thus an integral part and a logical corollary of belief 
in Allah. Moreover, it is also an essential test of genuineness of such belief. This becomes 
clear when the verse is read in conjunction with oilier relevant verses of the Qur-an. See, 
for instance, iv. 170. v. 15, 19, vii, 157, 158, xxi. 107, \\v. !, xxxiii. 40* IxL 6. See also 
ii. 40, Mi. 31-32, iv. 150-151. 

780. Cf. M. 87* and n. 91. 

781. That is* they turned away their eyes from Allah's Signs and they turned a deaf 
ear to Allah's Message. 

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To them; yet again many 
Of them became blind and deaf. 
But Allah sees well 
All that they do, 

72. Certainly they disbelieve who say: 
“Allah is Christ the son 

Of Mary/ 1 But said Christ: ^ 

"0 Children of Israeli 
Worship Allah, my Lord 
And your Lord.” Whoever 
Joins other gods with Allah - 
Allah will forbid him 
The Garden, and the Fire 
Will be his abode. There will 
For the wrong-doers 
Be no one to help, 

73. They disbelieve who say: 

Allah is one of three 

(In a Trinity:) for there is 
No god except One God. 

If they desist not 
From their word (of blasphemy), 
Verily a grievous chastisement 
Will befall the disbelievers. 

Among them. 

74, Why turn they not to Allah 
And seek His forgiveness? 

For Allah is Oft -forgiving. 

Most Merciful. 

75, Christ the son of Mary 
Was no more than 

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782. tf/. Matt. iv. !(J. where Christ rebukes Satan for desiring the worship of other 
than Allah: John xx. 17, where Christ says to Mary Magdalene, “Go unto my brethren, 
and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your 
God, “C/. also Luke xviii, 19, where Christ rebukes a certain ruler for calling him Good 
Master: ‘ Why eallest thou me good? None is good, save One, that is, Allah," In Mark 
xii, 25 Jesus says: "The first of all the commandments is. Hear O Israel; the Lord our 
God is One Lord.” 


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- 310 - 

S.5 A. 75-77 

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A Messenger; many were 
The Messengers that passed away 
Before him. His mother 
Was a woman of truth / h ' 

They had both to eat 
Their (daily) food. 

See how Allah doth make 
His Signs clear to them; 784 
Yet see in what ways 
They arc deluded 
Away from the truth! 

Say: "Will ye worship, 

Besides Allah, something 
Which hath no power either 
To harm or benefit you? 

But Allah, -He it is 
That heareih and knoweth 
All things," 

Say: “O People of the Book! 
Exceed not in your religion ^ 
The bounds (of what is proper). 
Trespassing beyond the truth. 

Nor follow the vain desires 
Of people who went wrong 
In times gone by, -who misled 
Many, and strayed (themselves) 
From the even Way. 



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783. She never claimed that she was a mother of God, or that her son was God. 
She was a pious virtuous woman. 

784. Note how logically the argument has led up from Jewish back -sliding* and want 
of faith, lo blasphemies associated with the names of Jesus and Mary, and in the following 
verses to the worship of senseless stocks am! stones. Allah is One; His Message is one: 
ye l how people s perversity transforms truth into falsehood, religion into superstition! 

78,Y Excess, as opposed to moderation and reason, is the simplest lest by which a 
hypocrite or a selfish man who "trades** on religion, h known from a sincere, pious, and 
truly religious man. Excess means that truth is sometimes concealed or trampled upon, 
that the fashions of ancestors or contemporaries are copied or overdone, and Allah’s name 
is dishonoured by blasphemies or the selling up of false gods or fetishes, or that good 
(or even had) men are deified and worshipped. The true path is the even path, the path 
of rectitude. (Cf. n. 108, and v. 12). 

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- 311 * 

J, 6 ^LJl tjJLl 


SECTION 1 1 . 

78. Curses were pronounced 

On those among the Children 
Of Israel who rejected Faith, 

By the tongue of David 786 
And of Jesus the son of Mary: 7 * 57 
Because they disobeyed 
And persisted in Excesses. 

79. Nor did they 
Forbid one another 788 
The iniquities which they 
Committed: evil indeed 

Were the deeds which they did. 

80. Thou seest many of them 
Turning in friendship 

To the Unbelievers, 

Evil indeed are (the works) which 
Their souls have sent forward 
Before them (with the result), 
Thai Allah's wrath 
Is on them. 

And in torment 
Will they abide. 

8U If only they had believed 
In Allah, in the Prophet, 

And in what hath been 
Revealed to him. never 

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78ft. The Psalms of David have several passages of imprecations against the slicked. 
Cf. Psalms cix 1 1- IK; Ixxviii, 21-22 (’Therefore the Font hoard this and was wroth; so 
a tire was kindled against Jacob, and anger aslo came up against Israel; because they 
believed not in God. and trusted nol in Mis salvation”); Psalms Ixix, 22-28, and Psalms 
v. H). 

787. C/. Matt, xxiii, 33 (“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape 
the damnation of Hell?); also Mail, xii, 34, 

788. t here are bad men in every community, hut if leaders connive at the misdeeds 
of the commonalty, -and even worse, if leaders themsevles share in the misdeeds, us 
happened with the Pharisees and Scribes against whom Jesus spoke out, then that 
community is doomed. 



- 312 - 

S.5 A. 81-84 

j 7 * j \ !l 



Would they have taken 
Them for friends and protectors. 
But most of them are 
Re be I lions w rong-doc rs. 

Strongest among men in enmity 
To the Believers wilt thou 
Find the lews and Pagans; 

And nearest among them in love 
To the Believers wilt thou 
Find those who say/' sy 
"Wc arc Christians 11 ; 

Because amongst these are 
Men devoted to learning. 11 
And men who have renounced 
The world, and they 
Are not arrogant. 

And when they listen 
To the revelation received 
By the Messenger, thou wilt 
See their eyes overflowing 
With tears, for they 
Recognise the truth: 

They pray: “Our Lord! 

We believe, write us 
Down among the witnesses. 

‘"What cause can we have 
Not to believe in Allah 
And the truth which has 
Come to us, seeing that 
We long for our Lord 

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789. I’he meaning is not that they merely call themselves Christians, hut that they 
were such sincere Christians that they appreciated Muslim virtues, as did the Ahyssinians 
to whom Muslim refugees went during the persecution in Makkah, 

790. Q&r/j: I have translated as “devoted to learning/* following the Commentators, 
It seems to be a foreign word, possibly Abyssinian rather than Syriac, as the reference 
seems to be to the Abyssinian Christians. Their real devotion to learning and the 
renunciation of the world by the Monastic Orders are contrasted with the hypocrisy and 
arrogance of the Pharisees and Scribes. 

- 313 - 

S.5 A. 84- 89 

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To admit us to the company 
Of the righteous?" 

85. And for this their prayer 
Hath Allah rewarded them 
With Gardens* with rivers 
Flowing underneath, -their eternal 
I lomc. Such is the recompense 
Of those who do good. 

86. But those who reject Faith 
And belie Our Signs - 
They shall be Companions 
Of Hell-fire. 


87. O ye who believe! 

Make not unlawful 

The good things which Allah 
Hath made lawful for you. 

But commit no excess:™ 1 
For Allah loveth not 
Those given to excess. 

88. Eat to the things which 
Allah hath provided for you. 
Lawful and good; but fear 
Allah, in Whom ye believe. 

89. Allah will not call you 
To account for what is 
Void in your oaths , m 

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79 L In pleasures that are good and lawful l he crime is excess. There is no merit 
merely in abstention or asceticism, though the humility or unselfishness that may go with 
asceticism may have us value. In v. 82. Christian monks are praised fur particular virtues, 
though here and elsewhere monasticism is disapproved of, Use Allah's gifts of all kinds 
with gratitude, but excess is not approved of by Allah. 

792. Vows of penance or abstention may sometimes he futile, or even stand in the 
way of really good or virtuous act. See u 224-226, and notes. The general principles 
established are: (l) take no futile oaths; (2) use not Allah's name, literally or in intention, 
to fetter yourself against doing a lawful or good net: (3) keep to your solemn oaths to 
the utmost of your ability; (4) where you are unable to do so, expiate your failure by 
feeding or clothing the poor, or obtaining some one's freedom, or if \ou have not the 
means, by fasting. This is from a spiritual aspect. 

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S*5 A. 89-91 

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Bui He will call you 
To account for your deliberate 
Oaths: for expiation, feed 
Ten indigent persons, 

On a scale of ilic average 
For the food of your families; 
Or clothe them; or give 
A slave his freedom. 

If that is beyond your means. 
Fast for three days. 

That is the expiation 

For the oaths ye have sworn. 

But keep to your oaths. 

Thus doth Allah make clear 
To you His Signs, that ye 
May be grateful. 

O ye who believe! 

Intoxicants and gambling, w 
Sacrificing to stones/ 44 
And (divination by) arrows/ 45 
Are an ahomi nation, - 
Of Satan’s handiwork: 

Eschew such {abomination). 
That ye may prosper. 

Satan's plan is (but) 

To excite enmity and hatred 
Between you, with intoxicants 
And gambling, and hinder you 

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793. Cf. ii. 219* and notes 24(1 and 24 L 

794. Cf v, 3* The stones there referred uj were stone altars or stone columns un 
which oil was poured for consecration, or slabs on which meat was sacrificed to idols. 
Any idolatrous or superstitious practices are here condemned* The unsub were objects of 
worship* and were common in Arabia before Islam* See Renan, “History of Israel ’, 
Chapter tv, and Corpus t riser ipiionum Semiticamm. Part I. p* 154; Illustrations Nos. 123 
and 123 his are Phoenician columns of that kind* found in Malta* 

795. Cf. v. 3, The arrows there referred to were used for the division of meat by 
a sort of lottery or raffle. But arrows were also used for divination, i.e . , for ascertaining 
lucky or unlucky moments, or learning the wishes of the heathen gods* as to whether 
men should undertake certain actions or not* All superstitions arc condemned. 

, A1 . J 

- 315 - 

S,5 A. 91-93 

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From the remembrance 
Of Allah, and from prayer: 
Will ye not then abstain? 

92, Obey Allah, and obey die 


7 % 

And beware (of evil); 

If ye do turn back, 

Know ye that ii is 
Our Messenger’s duty 
To proclaim (the Message) 
in the dearest manner. 


On those who believe 

And do deeds of righteousness 

There is no blame 

For what they ate (in the past). 

When they guard themselves 

From evil, and believe, 

And do deeds of righteousness,— 
Then again, guard themselves 
From evil and be I i eve, - 
Then again, guard themselves 
From evil and do good. 

For Allah loveth those 
\Vlu> do good.™ 

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7%. We are asked to obey the commands of Allah (which are always reasonable), 
instead of following superstitions (which are irrational), or seeking undue stimulation in 
intoxicants or undue advantage in gambling. To some there may be temporary excitement 
or pleasure in these, hut that is not the way either of prosperity or piety. 

797. Cf. v. 67, Both the worldly and the spiritual aspects or loss are pointed out. 
Can Allah's Message do more? 

798. There is a subtle symphony in what appears at first sight to be a triple 
repetition. The relation of such simple regulations as those of food, or game, or the 
reverence due to a sacred place or sacred insitution, has to be explained vis-a-vis man s 
higher duties. Baidhawi is right in classifying such duties under three heads; those due 
to Allah, those due from a man to himself (his self-respect), and those due to other 
creatures of Allah. Or perhaps all duties have this threefold aspect. The first may be 
called Believing or Faith: I be second, Guarding ourselves from evil, or Conscience: and 
the third, doing good or Righteousness, But the simplest physical rules, e,g, , those about 
eating, cleanliness, etc., if they arc good, refer also to die higher aspects. If we eat had 
food, we hurl ourselves, we cause offence to our neighbours, and we disobey Allah. If 

wisWsS&fc-- ton.**'*.- • “ . • : 


- 316 - 

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jAAnijnq olja\ dX q >6 


^rtf VV c s 

S.5 A. 95-97 


0 eJdlil 

Of atonement, the feeding 
Of the indigent; or its 
Equivalent in fasts: that he 
May taste of the penalty 
Of his deed. Allah 
Forgives what is past: 

For repetition Allah will 

Punish him 

For Allah is Exalted, 

And Lord of Retribution. 

96. Law r fill to you is the pursuit 8 ”" 
Of water-game and its use 
For food, -for the benefit 

Of yourselves and those who 
Travel; but forbidden 
Is the pursuit of land -game 
As long as ye are 
In the Sacred Precincts 
Or in the slate of pilgrimage 
And fear Allah, to Whom 
Ye shall be gathered back. 

97. Allah made the Ka‘ba, 

The Sacred House, a means of 
Support for men, as 
Also the Sacred Months, 

The animals for offerings. 

And the garlands that mark them: 
That ye may know 



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= or weight in meat or of similar shape (e.#,, goat to antelope), as adjudged by two just 
men on the spot. 

The alternatives about the penalty and its remission (“Allah forgives what is past'*) 
or exaction explain the last two lines of (he verse: being “Exalted and Lord of 
Retribution", Allah can remit or regulate according to His just laws, 

802. Water-game: /.£■» game found in water, e.g., fish, etc. “Water" includes sea, 
river, lake, pond, etc. 

803. The Sacred or Prohibited Months are explained in n. 2tJ9. ii. 194, and n. 687. 

804. See v. 2 and n. 688. 

- 318 - 

S .5 A. ¥7-101 

i it j i 

That Allah hath knowledge 
Of what is in the heavens 
And on earth and that Allah 
Is well acquainted 
With all thing?. HB 

98, Know ye that Allah 

K strict in punishment 
And that Allah is 
Oft-forgiving, Mom Merciful. 

99, The Messenger's duly is 

But to proclaim (the Message) 
But Allah kuoweih all 
Thai ye reveal and ye conceal 

H)0, Say: * l Noi equal arc things 
Thai are bad and things 
Thai are good, even though 
The abundance of the bad 
May dazzle thee;* 16 
So fear Allah, O ye 
That understand; 

That (so) ye may prosper/* 


101 (> ye who believe! 

Ask not questions 
About things which. 

If made plain to you. 

May cause you trouble. 

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HII5 All sorts of people from -ill parts of the earth gather during the Pilgrimage They 
must rmi think that they are strangers, that nobody knows them, and that they may 
behave as they like It is the House of Allah, and He 1ms supreme knowledge of all 
things, of all thoughts, and all motives. As the ne\t verse says, while Me is Oft -forgiving. 
Most Merciful lie is also siriei in enforcing respect for His ordinances 

KUfv Cf. ii 204 People often judge by quantity rather than quality They are dazzled 
by numbers: their hearts are captured hy what they see everywhere around them. But 
the man of understanding and discrimination judges hy a different standard. He knows 
that good and had things are not to he lumped together, and carefully chooses the best, 
which may be the scarcest, and avoids the had, though evil may meet him at every step, 


- 319 - 

S,5 A. 101-103 

J. 7 (^1 — S' 

0 a 

jjlil l 

Bui if ye ask about things 
When the Our-an is being 
Revealed, they will be 
Made plain to you, 8 * 17 
Allah will forgive those: 

For Allah is Oft-forgiving, 
Most Forbearing. 

102. Some people before you 
Did ask such questions,^ 
And on that account 
Lost their faith. 

HJ3. It was not Allah 

Who instituted (superstitions* 1 
Like those of) a slit-ear 
She-camel, or a shc-cnmel 
Lei loose for free pasture, 
Or idol sacrifices for 
Twin-births in animals, 

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gp J' 

807. Many secrets are wisely hidden from us If the future were known to us, we 
need run necessarily be happy. In many cases we should be miserable. If the inner 
meaning of some of the things we see before our eyes were disclosed lo us. it might cause 
a lot of mischief. Allah's Message, in so far as it is necessary for shaping our conduct, 
is plain and open to us. But there are many things too deep for us to understand, either 
individually or collectively. It would be foolish to pry into them, as some people tried 
to do in the time of the Prophet. Where a matter is mentioned in the Our-an, vve can 

reverently ask for its meaning. That is not forbidden. But we should never pass the 

bounds of (1) our own capacity to understand, (2} the lime and occasion when we ask 

questions, and (3) the part of the Universal Plan which il is Allah's purpose to reveal 

to us. 

KOK, For example, the merely fractious questions asked of Moses by the Jews: ii, OH- 
71. They showed that they had no faith When foolish questions are asked, and there 
is no answer, it also shakes the faith of the foolish ones. 

SC W, A number of Arab Pagan superstitions are referred to. The Pagan mind, not 
understanding the hidden secrets of nature, attributed certain phenomena to divine anger 
and were assailed by superstitious fears which haunted their lives. If a she-camcl or other 
female domestic animal had a large number of young, she (or one of her offspring) had 
her ear slit and she was dedicated to a god: such an animal was a ba(tfra< On return 
in safety from a journey, or on recovery from an illness a she-camcl was similarly 
dedicated and let loose for free pasture: she was called a satba. Where an animal bore 
twins, certain sacrifices or dedications were made to idols: an animal so dedicated was 
a wasiht. A stallion-camel dedicated to the gods by certain rites was a luirn. The particular 
examples lead to the general truth: that superstition is due to ignorance, and is degrading 
to men and dishonouring to Allah. 


- 320 * 

S.5 A, 1(13-106 

0 aJLllU 


Or stallion-camels 
F : recti from work: 

It is the disbelievers 
Who invent a lie 
Against Allah; but most 
Of them lack wisdom. 

104. When it is said to them: 

“Come to what Allah 
Hath revealed; come 
To the Messenger”: 

They say: “Enough for us* 

Are the ways we found 
Our fathers following.” 

What! even though their fathers 
Were void of knowledge 
And guidance? 

105. O ye who believe! 

Guard your own souls: 

If ye follow (right) guidance. 

No hurt can come to you 
From those who stray. 

The return of you all 
Is to Allah: it is He 
That will inform you 
Of all that ye do. S!l 

106. O ye who believe! 

When death approaches 
Any of you, (take) witnesses 
Among yourselves when making 
Bequest ,-two just men 

Of your own (brotherhood) 

Or others from outside 
If ye are journeying 
Through the earth. 

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81 fk C/. ii. 170, Where a Messenger of Truth comes to teach us the better way, it 
is foolish to say: “What our ancestors did is good enough for us " 

811. The unity of the one Judge will do perfect justice to each one's conduct, 
however different in form it may have appeared in this world. 

! I 

- 321 - 

S.5 A. 1 06-107 

j j ^LJl 

o 0 

And the chance of death 
Be fulls you (thus). 

If ye doubt (their truth). 

Detain them both 

After prayer, and let them both 

Swear by Allah: 

“Wc will not take 
Fur it a price 

Even though the (beneficiary) 

Be our near relation: 

We shall hide not 

The evidence we owe to Allah 

If wc do, then behold! 

We shall be sinners/ 12 

107. But if ii gels known 

That these two were guilty 
Of the sin (of perjury), 

Let two others stand forth 
In their places, -nearest 
hi kin from among those 
Who claim a lawful right: 111 ' 1 
Let them swear by Allah: 

"We affirm that our witness 
Is truer than that 
Of those two, and that wc 
Have not trespassed (beyond 
The truth): if we did. 

Behold! we will be 

1 [El aif ; 

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SI 2 Ordinarily this oath should he decisive, and the matter must rest here. Bur if 
it gels known that the oath was false, other evidence may he taken as in the next verse, 

IS 13 htuhaqqu Deserved having something (good or evil) attributed to one; hence 
the alternative meanings: (l) committed or was guilty (of a ) : (2) had or claimed a 
lawful right (to property). The procedure was followed in an actual case in the Prophet's 
life-time. A man from Madimih died abroad, having made over his goods, 10 tvso friends, 
to be delivered to his designated heirs in Madinah. They, however, kepi hack a valuable 
silver cup. When this was found out, oaths were taken from those who knew, and justice 
was done. 


- 322 - 

S. 5 A. 108-110 


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1 08. That is most suitable: 

That they may give the evidence 
In its true nature and shape, 

Or else they would fear 
That other oaths would be 
Taken after their oaths. 

Rut fear Allah, and listen 
(To His counsel): for Allah 
Guidetli not a rebellious people. 


109. On the day when Allah will 
Gather the Messengers together. 
And ask: “What was 

The response ye received 

(From men to your teaching)?" 

They will say: u Wc 

Have no knowledge: it is Thou 

Who k no west in full 

All that is hidden."* 14 

1 10* Then will Allah say: 

*'0 Jesus the son of Mary! 
Recount My favour* 1 " 

To thee and to thy mother. 
Behold! I strengthened thee* 1(1 
With the Holy Spirit, 

So that thou didst speak 
To the people in childhood 

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814. A scene of the Day of Reckoning is put before us in graphic words, showing 
the responsibility and the limitations of the Prophets of Allah, sent to preach Mis Message 
to men, with special reference to the Message of Jesus. The Messengers are sent to preach 
the Truth. What fantastic forms the Message takes in men’s reactions to it was beyond 
their knowledge, at the lime, and beyond their responsibility* 

815. In a solemn scene before the Court of Judgment, Jesus is asked to recount all 
the mercies and favours shown to him, so that his followers should become ashamed of 
their ingratitude in corrupting that Message, when they could have done so much in 
profiting by its purity and spiritual truth. This argument continues to the end of the Sura* 

816, Cf. ii 87, and fib 62. n. 401. 

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And fn old age 817 
Behold! I taught t lice 
The Book and Wisdom > m 
The Torah and the Gospel. 

And behold! thou makes!* 19 
Out of day, as it were, 

The figure of a bird. 

By My leave. 

And thou breathes! into it. 

And it become th a bird 
By My leave. 

And thou healest those 
Born blind, and l lie lepers, 

By My leave. 

And behold! thou 

Br ingest forth the dead 

Hy My leave. 820 

And behold! I did 

Best rain die Children of Israel 

l nun (violence to) thee 821 

When thou didst show them 

The Clear Signs, 

And the unbelievers among them 
Said: This is nothing 
But evident magic.* 822 

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Ml 7 (J. iii. 46, and n. 388. 

818. Cf. iii. 48. 

819. Cf iii. 49, and n, 390. 

820 Nmc how the words "by My leave” are repeated with each miracle to emphasize 

the tael that they arose, mu out of the power or will of Jesus, lull by the leave ami 

will and power of Allah, who is supreme over Jesus as He is over all other mortals. 

821 The Jews were seeking to lake the life of Jesus long before their final attempt 

to crucify him; see Luke iv. 28-29. Their attempt to crucify Him was also feu led, according 
lo the teaching we have received: Q. iv, 157. 

822. According to Luke (si. 15), when Christ performed the miracle of easting out 
devils, the Jews said he did it through ihe chief of ihe devils, /.e. , they accused him of 
black magic. No such miracle of casting out devils is mentioned in the Our-an. But Moses, 
Jesus, and Muhammad were all accused of magic and sorcery, by those who could find 
no other explanation of Allah's power. 

' 324 - 

S.5 A.1 11-114 

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ML “And behold! I inspired 
The Disciples to have faith 
In Me and Mine Messenger: 
They said. ‘We have faith. 

And do thou 1 " ' bear witness 
That we bow to Allah 
As Muslims’. ” 824 

M2. Behold! the Disciples said: 

“O Jesus the son of Mary! 

Can thy Lord send down to us 
A Table set (with viands) 

From heaven?'’ Said Jesus: 
“Fear Allah, if yc have faith"' 82 

113, They said: lt Wc only wish 
To eat thereof and satisfy 
Our hearts, and to know 
That thou has indeed 
Told us the truth; and 
That wc ourselves may be 
Witnesses to the miracle/' 

1 14, Said Jesus die son of Mary: 

“O Allah our Lord! 

Send us from heaven 

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823, “Thou" refers to Jesus, who is being addressed by his Disciples, Cf. tin 52. 

824, Before or after Muhammad's life on this earth, all who bowed to Allah’s Will 
were Muslims, and their religion is Islam. Cf in, 52, and n. 392, 

825, The request of the Disciples savours a little of (1) want of faith, (2) too much 
attention to physical food, and (3) a childish desire for miracles or Signs. AH these three 
can be proved from the Canonical Gospels, (1) Simon Peter, quite early in the story, 
asked Jesus to depart from him, as he (Simon) was a sinful man (Luke v, 8). The same 
Peter afterwards denied his Master three times shamelessly when the Master was in the 
power of his enemies. And one of the Disciples (Judas) actually betrayed Jesus, (2) Even 
iu the Canonical Gospels, so many of the miracles are concerned with food and drink, 
e.g., the turning of the water into wine (John, ii. 1-11): the conversion of five loaves 
and two small fishes into food for 5,000 men (John vi. 5-13). this being the only miracle 
recorded in all the four Gospels; the miraculous number of fishes caught fur food (Luke 
v. 4-11) ; the cursing of the fig tree because it had no fruit {Matt* xxi. 18-19): the allegory 
of eating Christ’s flesh and drinking Iris blood (John vi. 53-57). (3) Because the Samaritans 
would not receive Jesus into their village, the Disciples James and John wauled a lire 
to come down from heaven and consume them (Luke is. 5J). 





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- 325 - 

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A Tabic set (with viands). 

That there may be for us- 
F r or the first and the last of m- 
A solemn festival 
And a Sign from Thee; 

And provide for our sustenance ; K ~ 
Tor Thou art the best 
Sustainer (of out needs)." 

115. Allah said: "1 will 

Send it down unto you: 

But if any of you 
After that resisteth faith, 
t will punish him 
With a chustiscmcni such 
As I have not inflicted 
On any one among 
All the peoples/** 28 


116* And behold! Allah will say: 

"O Jesus the son of Mary! 

Didst thou say unto men. 

Take me and my mother 
For two gods beside Allah’?" 

He will say: "Glory to Thee! 
Never could 1 say 
What t had no right 
(To say). Had 1 said 

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H26. The words of the Prayer seem to suggest the Last Supper, Cf. also the vision 
of Peter in 'The Acts of the Apostles/* x, *M6, 

S27 As in Islam, so in Chnsfs Prayer, sustenance should he taken for holh physical 
and spiritual strength, especially the latter. “Give us this day our daily bread" seems the 
rendering of u literal isi whose attention was fixed too much on bread. 

K2H. h is a wicked gene ration that asks for Signs and Miracles* Usually they are not 
vouchsafed. Put where they are* the responsibility of those who ask for them is increased. 
If* after that, they reject faith, invent lies, and go after false gods or false ideals, their 
penally will lie worse than that of other people* How this works out practically among 
those who call themselves Christians is exemplified in such hooks as the late Mr. W.T* 
Stead's “If Christ Came lo Chicago?" 

- 326 - 

S.5 A. 1 16- 1 18 J. 7 o SJb‘111 ijj- 

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Such a thing. Thou wouldst 
Indeed have known it. 

Thou k no west what is 
In my heart, though I 
Know not what is 
In Thine. For Thou 
Knowest in full 
All that is hidden.* 2 ' 

117, “Never said l to them 
Aught except what Thou 
Didst command me 
To say, to wit, ‘Worship 
Allah, my Lord and your Lord’:* 10 
And l was a witness 
Over them whilst I dwelt 
Amongst them; when thou 
Didst take me up 
Thou wast die Watcher 
Over them, and Thou 
Art a witness to all things/ 11 

1 IK. “If Thou dost punish them. 

They are Thy servants: 

If Thou dost forgive them. 

Thou art the Exalted in power. 
The Wise."*” 

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S29. Jesus disclaims here any knowledge of the sort of things that are attributed to 
Inin by those who take his name. The worship of Mary, though repudiated bv live 
Protestants, was widely spread in the curlier churches, both m the IZasl and the West. 

830. Cf. v, 72. and n. 782. 

831 Jesus here acknowledges that he was mortal, and that his knowledge was limited 
like that of a mortal, 

832. A Master can justly punish His servants for disobedience: no one can say Him 
nay, tor He is high above all. 13 ui if lie chooses to forgive, Me in Mis wisdom secs things 
that we mortals cannot sec. This is the limit of intercession that men of God can make 
on behalf of sinners. 









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- 327 - 

S.5 A. 119-121) 

lAf sA# *Af sAr tAr 

Allah will say; “This is 
A day on which 
The iruilifut will profit 
From their truth: theirs 
Are Gardens, with rivers 
Rowing beneath -their eternal 
Home: Allah well-pleased 
With them, and they with Allah: 
That is the mighty Triumph*'^ 
(The fulfilment of all desires). 

To Allah doth belong the dominion 
Of the heavens and l he earth. 
And all that is therein* 

And it is He who hath power 
Over all things. 

c _ 

- * i'"" •lif"' ^ AM : 

833. Fau/ Felicity, happiness, achievement, salvation, the attainment or fulfilment 
of desires. What a beautiful definition of salvation or the end of 1ife!-that we should win 
Allah's good pleasure and that wc should reach the stage at which 11 is goo* l pleasure is 
all-in-all to us. 

328 - 

Appendix 2 


U; i- A 


On the Taunil {see v, 44, n* 753) 

The Taurdi is frequently referred to in the Qur-an, h is well to have dear 
ideas as to what it exactly means. Vaguely we may say that it was the Jewish 
Scripture. It is mentioned with honour as having been, in its purity, a true 
revelation from Allah. 

To translate it by the words “The Old Testament" is obviously wrong. The 
"Old Testament " is a Christian term, applied to a body of old Jewish records. 
The Protestants and the Roman Catholics arc not agreed precisely as to the 
number of records to be included in the canon of the “Old Testament." They 
use the term in contradistinction to the "New Testament/* whose composition 
we shall discuss in Appendix UP 

Nor is it correct to translate Taurdi as the “Pentateuch," a Greek term 
meaning the “Five Books/* These are the first five books of the Old Testament, 
known as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus* Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They 
contain a semi- historical and legendary narrative of the history of the world 
from the Creation to the time of the arrival of the Jews in the Promised Land. 
There are in them some beautiful idylls but there arc also stories of incest, 
fraud* cruelty, and treachery, not always disapproved. A great part of the 
Mosaic Law is embodied in this narrative. The books are traditionally ascribed 
to Moses, but it is certain that they were not written by Moses or in an age 
either contemporary with Moses or within an appreciable distance of time from 
Moses. They were in their present form probably compiled some time after the 
return of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity. The decree of Cyrus 
permitting such retun was in 53b H.C* Some books now included in the Old 
Testament, such as Ilaggai, Zcchariuh. and Malachi were admittedly written 
after the return from the captivity, Malachi being as late as 420-397 B.C. The 
compilers of the Pentateuch of course used some ancient material: some of that 
material is actually named. Egyptian and Chaldaean terms are relics of local 
colour and contemporary documents. 

But there arc some ludicrous slips. which show that the compilers did not 
always understand their material. Modern criticism distinguishes two distinct 
sources among the documents of different dates used by the editors. For ihe 
sake of brevity and convenience they may be called (a) Jchovistic, and (b) 
Elohistic, Then there arc later miscellaneous interpolations. They sometimes 
overlap and sometimes contradict each other. 


- 329 - 

Appendix 2, 

Logically speaking, the Book of Joshua. which describes ihe entry into the 
Promised Land* should be bracketed with the Pentateuch . and many writers 
speak of the six books together as the Hexateuch (Greek term for Six Books), 

The Apocrypha contain certain Books which arc not admitted as Canonical 
in the English Bible. But the early Christians received them as part of the 
Jewish Scriptures* and the Council of Trent (A.D. 1545-1563) seems to have 
recognised the greater part of them as Canonical. The statement in 2 Esdras 
(about the first century A IM that the law was burnt and Ezra (say* about 458* 
457 ICC. J was inspired to rewrite it* is probably true as to the historical fact 
that the law was lost, and that what we have now is no earlier than the time 
of Ezra, and some of it a good deal later. 

So far we have spoken of the Christian view of the Old Testament. What 
is the Jewish view? The Jews divide their Scripture into three parts: (I) the Law 
(Torah) t (2) the Prophets (Nebiim), and (3) the Writings {Kethubim). The 
corresponding Arabic words would be: (1) Taurdi, (2) Nabiyfn, and (3) Kutub. 
This division was probably current in the time of Jesus, In Luke xxiv* 44 Jesus 
refers to the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms, In other places (e.g.* Matt, 
vii . 12) Jesus refers to the Law and the Prophets as summing up the whole 
Scripture. In the Old Testament Book, II. Chronicles xxxiv. 3tl* the reference 
to the Book of the Covenant must be to the Torah or the original Law. This 
is interesting, as tile Gin -an frequently refers to the Covenant with reference 
to the Jews. The modern Christian terms "Old Testament” and "New 
Testament” are substitutes for the older terms "Old Covenant" and "New 
Covenant." The Samaritans, who claim to be the real Children of Israel and 
disavow' the Jews as schismatics from their Law of Moses, only recognise the 
Pentateuch, of which they have their own version slightly different from that 
in the Old Testament. 

The view of the school of Higher Criticism is radically destructive. 
According to Renan it is doubtful whether Moses was not a myth. Two versions 
of Sacred History existed, different in language* style, and spirit, and they were 
combined together into a narrative in die reign of Hezekiah (R.C, 727-607), 
This forms the greater part of the Pentateuch as ii exists to-day, excluding the 
greater part of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, In the reign of Josiah about 622 
B.C . certain priests and scribes (with Jeremiah the prophet) promulgated a new 
code, pretending that they had found it in the Temple (II. Kings, xxh. K)> This 
Law (Torah ~ Tuurdt) was the basis of Judaism, the new religion then founded 
in Palestine. This was further completed by the sacerdotal and Lev ideal Torah, 
compiled under the inspiration of Ezekiel, say, about 575 B.C,, and contained 
mainly in the Book of Leviticus, with scattered fragments in Exodus, Numbers, 
and Joshua. We are entitled to accept the general results of a scientific 



- 330 - 


jAtaAfjAg jAe 

'• tV • - : * : : 

examination of documents, probabilities, and dates; even though we reject the 
premise which we believe to be false, viz., that Allah does not send inspired 
Hooks through inspired Prophets. We believe that Moses existed; that he was 
an inspired man of God; that he gave a message which was afterwards distorted 
or lost; that attempts were made by Israel at various times to reconstruct that 
message; and that the Tint rat as we have it is (in view of the statement in 2 
Esdras) no earlier than the middle of the fifth century R.C* 

The primitive Torah must have been in old 1 lebrew* but there is no 
Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament which can be dated with certainly 
earlier than 916 A.D. Hebrew ceased to be a spoken language with the Jews 
during cr after the Captivity, and by the time we come to the period of Jesus, 
most cultivated Hebrews used the Greek language, and others used Aramaic 
(including Syriac and Chaldee), Latin, or local dialects. There were also Arabic 
versions. For historical purposes the most important versions were the Greek 
version, known as the Sepluagint, and the Latin version* known as the Vulgate, 
The Septuagint was supposed to have been prepared by 70 or 72 Jews (Latin, 
septuaginta - seventy) working independently and at different times* the 
earliest portion dating from about 2S4 B.C. This version was used by the Jews 
of Alexandria and the Hcllcnized Jew-s who were spread over all parts of the 
Roman Empire. The Vulgate was a Latin translation made by the celebrated 
Father of the Christian Church, St* Jerome* from 1 1 e brew, early in the fifth 
century A.D., superseding the older Latin versions. Neither the Septuagint nor 
the Vulgate have an absolutely fixed or certain text* The present standard text 
of the Vulgate as accepted by the Roman Catholic Church was issued by Pope 
Clement VIII (A.D. 1592*1605). 

It will he seen therefore that there is no standard text of the Old Testament 
in its Hebrew form. The versions differ from each other frequently in minor 
particulars and sometimes in important particulars. The Pentateuch itself is only 
a small portion of the Old Testament h is in narrative form, and includes the 
laws and regulations associated with the name of Moses, but probably compiled 
and edited from older sources by Ezra (or Esdras Arabic, ’Uzatr) in the 5th 
century B.C. As Renan remarks in the preface to his History of the People of 
Israel, the “definite constitution of Judaism" may be dated only from the time 
of Ezra. The very early Christians were divided into two parties. One was a 
Judaizing party, which wished to remain in adherence to the Jewish laws and 
customs while recognising the mission of Jesus* The other, led by Paul, broke 
away from Jewish customs and traditions* Ultimately Pauline Christianity won. 
But both parties recognised the Old Testament in its present form (in one or 
another of its varying versions) as Scripture. It was the merit of Islam that it 
pointed out that as scripture it was of no value* although it recognised Moses 
as an inspired messenger and his original Law as having validity in his period 

- 331 - 

Appendix 2. 



until (t was superseded. In its criticism of the Jewish position it suit! in effect: 
“You have lost your original Law: even what you have now as its substitute, 
you do not honestly follow: is it hot hetter, now that an inspired Teacher is 
living among you, that you should follow him rather than quibble over uncertain 
texts 7" 

But the Jews in the Prophet's time (and since) went a great deal by the 
Talmud, or a body of oral exposition, reduced to writing in different Schools 
of doctors and learned men. 'Talmud" in Hebrew is connected with the Arabic 
root in 77/m f 2 , “disciple" or “student/' The Talmudists took the divergent texts 
of the Old Testament and in interpreting them by a mass of traditional 
commentary and legendary lore, evolved a standard body of teaching. The 
Talmudists are of special interest to us, as, in the sixth century A. IX, just 
before the preaching of Islam, they evolved the M assort! h, which may be 
regarded as the body of authoritative Jewish Traditions, to which references are 
to be found in passages addressed to the Jews in the Qur-un. 

The first part of the Talmud is called the Mish/ui, -a collection of traditions 
and decisions prepared by the Rabbi Judah about 351) A. IX He summed up the 
results of a great mass of previous rabbinical writings. The Mishna is the 
“Second Law”: Cf. the Arabic Than- in - second. “It bound heavy burdens, 
grievous to be borne, and laid them on men's shoulders": Matt, xxiii. 4. 

There were also many Tnrgums or paraphrases of the Law among the Jews. 
“Targum" is connected in root with the Arabic Tar jama, “he translated." There 
were many Tar gums, mostly in Aramaic, and they constituted the teaching of 
the Law to the masses of the Jewish people. 

The correct translation of the Taurdt is therefore “The Law/* In its original 
form it was promulgated by Moses, and is recognised in Islam as having been 
an inspired Book, But i! was lost before Islam was preached. What passed as 
“The Law" with the Jews in the Prophet's time was the mass of traditional 
writing which I have tried to review in this Appendix. 

Authorities: Encyclopaedia Britannia^ 'Bible'': Helps to the Study of the 
Bible, Oxford University Press: A.F. Kirkpatrick, Divine Library of the Old 
Testament; C, E, Hammond, Outline of Textual Criticism: Renan, History 

of Israel; G + F t Moore, Literature of the Old Testament, and the bibliography 
therein (Home University Library); Sir Frederic Kenyon. The Story of the 
Bible. 1936, 

- 332 - 

Appendix 3. 



On the Injit (see v. 46, n. 757) 

Just ms the Taurdt is not the Old Testament, or the Pentateuch, as now 
received by the Jews and Christians, so the Injil mentioned in the Qur-an is 
certainly not the New- Testament, and it ts not the four Gospels, as now 
received by the Christian Church, but an original Gospel which was 
promulgated by Jesus as the TauriU was promulgated by Moses and the Qur an 
by Muhammad A l- Must a fa. 

The New Testament as now received consists of (a) four Gospels with 
varying contents (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John); and other miscellaneous 
matter; viz . , (b) the Acts of the Apostles (probably written by Luke and 
purporting to describe the progress of the Christian Church under St. Peter and 
St, Paul from the supposed Crucifixion of Jesus to about 61 A.D.): (c) twenty- 
one Letters or Epistles (the majority written by St. Paul to various churches 
or individuals, but a few written by other Disciples, and of a general nature); 
and (d) the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse (ascribed to St. John, and 
containing mystic visions and prophecies, of which it is difficult to understand 
the meaning). 

As Prof, F,C. Burkin remarks ( Canon of the New Testament), it is an odd 
miscellany. “The four biographies of Jesus Christ,., arc not all independent to 
each other, and neither of them was intended by its writer to form one of a 
quartette. But they arc all put side by side, unharmonised, one of them being 
actually imperfect at the end, and one being only the first volume of a larger 
work/' All this body of unmethodical literature was casual in its nature. No 
wonder, because the early Christians expected the end of the world very soon. 
The four canonical Gospels were only four out of many, and some others 
besides the four have survived. Each writer just wrote down some odd sayings 
of the Master that he recollected. Among the miracles described there is only 
one which is described in all the four Gospels, and others were described and 
believed in other Gospels, which are not mentioned in any of the four canonical 
Gospels. Some of the Epistles contain expositions of doctrine, but this has been 
interpreted differently by different Churches, There must have been hundreds 
of such Epistles, and not all the Epistles now received as canonical were always 
so received or intended to be so received. The Apocalypse also was not the 
only one in the field. There were others. They were prophecies of “things which 
must shortly come to pass”: they could not have been meant for Jong 
preservation, “for the time is at hand/" 


- 333 - 

Appendix 3. 

When were these four Gospels written? By the end of the second century 
A.D. they were in existence, but it does not follow that they held been selected 
by that date to form a canon. They were merely pious productions comparable 
to Dean Farrar's Life of Christ. There were other Gospels besides. And further, 
the writers of two of them, Mark and Luke, were not among the Twelve 
Disciples “called” by Jesus. About the Gospel of St. John there is much 
controversy as to authorship, date, and even as to whether it was all written 
by one person. Clement of Rome (about 97 A.D.) and Polycarp (about 112 
A.D.) quote sayings of Jesus in a form different from those found in the present 
canonical Gospels. Polycarp (Epistle, vii) inveighs much against men "who 
pervert the sayings of the Lord to their own lusts/* and he wants to turn “to 
the Word handed down to us from the beginning/' thus referring to a Book 
(or a Tradition) much earlier than the four orthodox Gospels. An Epistle of 
St. Barnabas and an Apocalypse of St. Peter were recognised by Presbyter 
Clement of Alexandria (flourished about ISO A,D.). r Fhc Apocalypse of St. 
John, which is a part of the present Canon in the West, forms no part of the 
Peshitta (Syriac) version of the Eastern Christian, which was produced about 
411-433 A.D.. and which was used by the Nestorian Christians. It is probable 
that the Peshitta was the version (or an Arabic form of it) used by the 
Christians in Arabia in the time of the Prophet. The final form of the New 
Testament canon for the West was fixed in the fourth century A.D. (say, about 
367 A.D.) by Athanasius and the Mieenc creed. The beautiful Codex Sinaiticus 
which was acquired for the British Museum in 1934, and is one of the earliest 
complete manuscripts of the Bible, may he dated about the fourth century. It 
is written in the Greek language. Fragments of unknown Gospels have also been 
discovered, which do not agree with the received canonical Gospels. 

The in jit (Greek. Evangel = Gospel) spoken of by the Qur-an is not she 
New Testament. It is not the four Gospels now received as canonical. It is the 
single Gospel which. Islam teaches, was revealed to Jesus, and which he taught. 
Fragments of it survive in the received canonical Gospels and in some others, 
of which traces survive (e.g* t the Gospel of Childhood or the Nativity, the 
Gospel of St, Barnabas, etc.). Muslims are therefore right in respecting the 
present Bible (New Testament and Old Testament), though they reject the 
peculiar doctrines taught by orthodox Christianity or Judaism* They claim to he 
in the true tradition of Abraham, and therefore all that is of value in the older 
revelations, it is claimed, is incorporated in the teaching of the Last of the 

Authorities: The first two mentioned for Appendix II. and in addition: 
Prof. F.C, BurkitL on the Cannon of the New Testament, in Religion, June 
1934. the Journal of Transactions of the Society for Promoting the Study of 
Religions: R. W, Mackay. Rise and Progress of Christianity: G.R.S. Mead. The 

- 334 - 

Appendix 3. 

Gospel and the Gospels: B . W . Bacon. Making of the New Testament, with its 
Bibliography: Sir Frederic Kenyon. The Story of the Bible; R. Hone. The 
Apocrypha! New Testament, London !K20: H I, Bell and TVC SkeaL Fragments 
of an Unknown Gospel and other Christian Papyri ( published by the British 
Museum. 1935. See also chapter 15 of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire, where the genesis of the early churches and sects in the Roman 
Empires is briefly reviewed. 

- 335 - 

Intro* to S. 6 

Tills is a Sura of the laic Makkan period. The greater part of it was 
revealed entire. Its place in the traditional order of arrangement is justified by logical 
considerations. We have already had the religious history of mankind* a 
discussion of the earlier revelations and how they were lost or corrupted, the 
regulations for the outer life of the new Community, and the points in which 
the Jews and Christians failed to maintain the central doctrine of Islam-the 
unity of Allah. The next step now taken is to expound this doctrine in relation 
to Pagan Arabia* 

Summary,- The nature of Allah and the method by which He reveals 
I limself are first expounded* and the weakness of Paganism is exposed (vi. 1-30). 

The emptiness of this world's life is contrasted with the evidence of Allah’s 
wonderful handiwork in all Creation. It is He who holds the keys of the Unseen 
and the secrets of all that we sec (vi* 31-60). 

Allah’s working in Mis world and His constant care and guidance should 
give a due to His unity as it dir) to Abraham when he argued with those who 
worshipped false gods (vi. 61-H2), 

The succession of prophets after Abraham kept Allah's truth alive, and led up 
to the Qur-fm* How can man fail to understand the majesty and goodness of 
Allah, when he contemplates Allah’s creation and His Messages to mankind? 
(vi* 83-110), 

The obstinate and the rebellious are deceived: they should be avoided. 
Though they turn for assistance to each other, they will receive due punishment 
(vi. n M29). 

Allah's decrees will come to pass, in spite of all the crimes and superstitions 
of the ungodly (vi, 130-150). 

The better course is to follow the straight Way, the Way of Allah, as 
directed in the Qur an, with unity and the full dedication of our lives (vi. 151- 
165 ). 

- 336 - 

Surat Al-An'am 6 Ayat 1-3 

hi the name of Allah, Most Gracious , 
Most Merciful . 

1 . Praise be to Allah, 

Who created the heavens 
And the earth, 

And made the Darkness 
And the Light, 

Yet those who reject Faith 
Hold (others) as equal** 4 
With their Guardian Lord 835 


2. He it is Who created 
You from clay, and then 

Decreed a stated term**' 

(For you). And there is 
With Him another 
Determined term: yet 
Ye doubt within yourselves! 

3. And He is Allah 
In the heavens 

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ojjUJ j 

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* Jx- A t* , ^ ^ ^ ^ 

pJ * d v *V > + 1 l| 4-U 'jAj 

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834. "Adah has various meaning: (1) to hold something as equal to something else, 
as here: to balance nicely: (2) to deal justly, as between one party anti another, xliL 15: 
(3) to give compensation or reparation, or something as equivalent to something else, vi, 
7(1: (4) to turn the balance the right way, to give a right disposition, to give a just bias 
or proportion. Ixxxii. 7: (5) to turn the balance the wrong way, to swerve, to show bias, 
iv, 1.15. 

835. The argument is threefold: (1) Allah created everything you sec and know: how 
can you then set up any of Mis own creatures as equal to Him? (2) Me is your own 
Guardian- Lord; lie cherishes and loves you; how can you be so ungrateful as to run after 
something else? (3) Darkness and Light are to help you to distinguish between the true 
from the false: how then can you confound the true God with your false ideas and 
superstitions? There may also he a repudiation of the Duality of old Persian theology; 
Light and Darkness are not conflicting Powers; they arc both creatures of Allah, 

836. After the general argument, the argument comes to man personally. Can such 
a miserable creature, created from day. put himself in opposition to his Creator? And 
can man forget or doubt that he is here only for a short term of probation? And then, 
after a period, comes the Day of Account before Allah, 

837. This life is u period of probation. The other term leads up to Judgement. 

- 337 - 

S.ft A.3-' 

1-1 1 

i r uVl hr* 

And in earth. 

1 le knoweth what ye 
Hide, and what ye reveal 
And He knoweth 
The (recompense) which 
Ye earn (by your deeds)* 858 

4* But never did a single 
One of the Signs 
Of their Lord reach them* 

But they turned 
Away therefrom. 

5. And now they reject 

The truth when it reaches 
Them: but soon shall come to them 
The news of what 
They used to mock at. 

6. See they not how many 
Of those before them 
We did destroy?-* 3 ** 

Generations We had established 
On the earth, in strength 
Such as We have not given 

To you-for whom 

We poured out rain 

From the skies in abundance, 

And gave streams 
Flowing beneath their (feet); 

Yet for their sins 
We destroyed them. 

And raised in their wake 

Z' t' ; :r : * : 

J j ) J* bijjsl $ i j ^ -J i 

ZfJt s 'a 


838* ti is fully to suppose that Allah only reigns in the heavens. He also reigns on 
earth. He knows alt our secret thoughts and motives, and the real worth of all that rs 
behind what we care to show* ti is by our deeds that He judges us; for our deeds* 
whether good or evil we shall get due recompense in due time. 

R39, Now comes the argument from history, looking backwards:, and forwards. Jf we 
are so short-sighted or arrogant as to suppose that we are firmly established on this earth* 
secure in our privileges, we are reminded of much greater nations in the past* who failed 
in their duty and were wiped out In their fate we must read our own fate, it we fat! 
likewise! But those without faith* instead of facing facts squarely "turn away therefrom' ", 

- 338 - 

J.7 gUUjJUl 

■ hr* 

S.6 A.6-9 

xV lAr sA 

Fresh generations 
(To succeed them). 

If We had sent 
Unto thee a written 
(Message) on parchment, ^ A 
So that they could 
Touch it with their hands. 

The Unbelievers would 

I lave been sure to say: 

“This is nothing but 
Obvious magic!"* 40 

8. They say: "Why is not 

An angel sent down to him?' 

II We did send down 
An angel. the matter 
Would be settled at once. 
And no respite 

Would be granted them.* 41 

9. If We had made it 
An angel. We should 

I lave sent hint as a man. 
And We should certainly 
Have caused them confusion 

Zz © £ & & j Mi i i j ij 


L / * S'' ^ / % s % s' ~s*r J f 1 /, 

J L^=tL- 

. , * y * «*> 

K3M-A. Qirhh. in the Prophet s life, could only mean “parchment," which was 
commonly used as writing material in Western Asia from the 2nd century ILC. The word 
was derived from the Greek, Charles ( Cf \ Latin. "Chtirut"). Paper, as we know it. made 
( ram tags, was first used by the Arabs after the conquest of Smarqand in 751 A.P. The 
Chinese had used ii by the 2nd century B.t\ The Arabs introduced it into Europe; it 
was used in Greece in the Nth or 12th century, and in Spain through Sicily in the 12th 
century the Papyrus, made from an Egyptian reed, was used in Egypt as early as 25tK) 
H t It gave place to paper in Egypt in the 10th century. 

ML The materialists want to see actual physical material things before them, but if 
such a thing came from an unusual source or expressed things they cannot understand, 
they give it some name like magic, or superstition, or whatever name is in fashion, and 
they are not helped at all in attaining faith, because their "hearts are diseased" (ii. 10), 

M4l Cf. ii. 2 Ilf An angel is a heavenly being, a manifestation of Allah’s glory, 
invisible to men who live gross material lives. Such men are given plenty of respite in 
which to turn in repentance to Allah and make themselves worthy of His light. But if 
their prayer to see an angel were granted, it would do them no good, for they would 
be destroyed as darkness is destroyed by light. 

- 339 * 


1 fUiVl hr* 

In a matter which they have 
Already covered with confusion . M2 

Mocked were (many) 

Messengers before thee; 

But their scoffers 
Were hemmed in 
By the thing that they mocked , 841 


Say: “Travel through the earth 
And see wliat was the end 
Of those who rejected Truth/’ 

Say: “To whom helongelh 
All that is m the heavens 
And on earth?” Say: 

“To Allah, He hath inscribed 
For Himself (the rule of) Mercy . 844 
That lie will gather you 
Together for the Day of Judgment, 
There is no doubt whatever, 
it is they who have lost 
Their own souls, that will 
Not believe. 

ijjfr . ■ . . . V , 4djp)L~^^L* 

s' w s' ' > / ' ^ 'f •* it * \ ^ 

>■ Jfji ' 4 

pz$k ly+jjj&r 

i;j_i ( Li«S^ iZ$*k ii 

842. Supposing an aiu »el should appear to their grosser senses, he could only do it 
ui human form, hi that case their present contused notions about spiritual life would he 
still more confounded. They would say: **We wanted to see ;m angel, and we have only 
seen a maiiT* 

845, “The scoffers were mocked by the thing that they mocked" would express 
cpigrammatically part of the sense, but no! the w hole. Hemmed in" implies that the logic 
of events turned die tables, and as a man might he besieged and surrounded by an enemy 
in war. and would be forced to surrender, so these mockers will find dial events would 
justify Truth, not them. The mockers of Jesus. -where were they when Titus destroyed 
Jerusalem? The mockers who drove out Muhammad from Makkah-what was their plight 
when Muhammad came back in triumph mid they sued for mercy .—and he gave it to them! 
According to the Latin proverb. Great is Truth, and must prevail. 

844, History, travel, human experience, all prove the Mercy of Allah and the law 
that without il those who reject Truth tend to lose their own souls and destroy themselves. 

- 340 - 


13. To him bclongeth till 
Thai dwcllcth (or lurketh)* 45 
In the Night and ihe Day, 
For He is the One 

Who hcarcth and kmtwcth 
All things.* 1 * 

14. Say: “Shall I take 
For my protector 
Any other than Allah, 

The Maker of the heavens 
And the earth? 

And He it is that 
Feedul h hut is not fed.”* 47 
Say: “Nay! but 1 am 
Commanded to be the first 
Of those who bow 
To Allah (in Islam), 

And be not thou 
Of the company of those 
Who join gods with Allah/’ 

15. Say: “I would, if I 
D iso he ye d my Lord, 

Indeed have fear 
Of the Chastisement 


845, Sakan — (l) to dwell: (2) lo rest, to be still, to stop (moving), to lurk; (3) 
to be quiescent, as a letter which is not moved with a vowel. 

If we imagine Night and Day to he places, and each to have (dwelling in them) things 
that are open and things that are concealed, things that move and things that are still, 
things that arc sounded and things that arc quiescent, we get some idea of the imagery 
implied. The mystery of lime (which seems more abstract than Space) is thus explained 
and illustrated by the idea of Place or Space, which also is a notion and not a concrete 
thing. But lie Who has control of all these things is the one true God, 

846, Throughout this section we have a sort id implied dialogue, id which one part 
is understood from the other part, which is expressed In verse II, we might have an 
imaginary objector saying: "Why go back to the past?” The answer is: “Well travel 
through the world, and sec whether il is not true that virtue and godliness exalt a nation, 
and the opposite arc causes of ruin, Both the past and the present prove this/* In verse 
12 the objector may say: "‘Hut you speak of Allah’s power?” The man of God replies: “Yes, but 
Mercy is Allah’s own attribute, and knowledge and wisdom beyond what man can conceive.** 

847, I'tvdcth but ix not fvd: true both lilerally anti figuratively. To Allah we owe the 
satisfaction of all needs, but He is independent of all needs* 


> - - i 


- 341 - 

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61 -erv 

S.6 A, 19-23 

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Suy: i4 Bul in truth 
He is the One God. 

And 1 truly am innocent 
Of (your blasphemy of) Joining 
Others with Him." 

20. Those to whom 

We have given the Book 
Know this as they know 1 * 511 
Their own sons. 

Those w F ho have lost 

Their own souls 

Refuse therefore to believe. 


21. Who doth more wrong 
Than he who inventeth 
A lie against Allah 

Or rejecteth His Signs? 

But verily the wrong-doers 
Never shall prosper. 

22. On the day shall We gather 
Them all together: We 
Shall say to those 

Who ascribed partners (to Us): 
“Where arc the partners 
Whom ye (invented 
And) talked about! 

23. There will then be (left) 

No excuse for them 851 
But to say: “By Allah 

fc - |A< a. A * 


rt . * ■*' \ 


851) (/, ii. 146 and n. 151 tn both passages the pronoun translated "this 41 may mean 
“him” ;md refer to Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, as some Commentators think 

851. Fiituu has various meanings, from the root idea of “to try. to test, in lemptf 
c.g-, (1) a trial or temptation. as in ii. 102; (2) trouble, tumult, oppression, persecution, 
as in ii. 191 * 193, 2 17; (3) discord as in iii. 7, (4) subterfuge, an answer that amounts 
to a sedition, and excuse founded on a falsehood, as here Other shades of meaning will 
be noticed as they occur. 

t hose who blasphemed Allah in imagining false gods vs i LI now see the vanity of their 
imaginations for themselves. VVhal answer can they give now? In their perversity they will 
deny that they ever entertained the notion of false gods. 

- 343 - 

* A. 23-27 


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Qur Lord we were not 
Those who joined gods 
With Allah/ 1 

24, Behold! how they lie 
Against themselves 
But the (lie) which they 
Invented will leave them 
In the lurch. 


25. Of them there are some 

Who (pretend to) listen to thee; 
But We have thrown 
Veils on their hearts. 

So they understand it not,* 52 ’* 
And deafness in their ears; 

If they saw every one 
Of the Signs, they will 
Not believe in them; 

In so much that 
When they come to thee. 

They (hut) dispute with thee; 
The Unbelievers say: 

‘‘These are nothing 

But tales of the ancients." 

26. Others they forbid il 
And themselves they keep away; 
But they only destroy 

And they perceive it not, 

27. If thou couldst but see 
When they shall be made 
To stand by the Fire 
They will say: 

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H52. The lies which they used to tel) have now “wandered" I rum the channel* which 
they use to occupy, and left the liar* in the lurch. In denying the indubitable fact (hat 
they took false gods, they admit the falsity of their notions und thus are practically 
convicted out of their own mouths, 

85 2- A. // = The Our-fci. 

- 344 - 

S.(i A. 27-31 J. 7 ^Ul^l -V (* 



“ Would that we were 
Dm sent back! 

Then would we not reject 
The Signs of our Lord, 

But would be amongst those 
Who believer’ 

28. Yea, in their own (eyes) 

Will become manifest 

What before they concealed. 

But if they were returned. 

They would certainly relapse 
To the things they were forbidden. 
For they are indeed liars.** 3 

29. And they (sometimes) say: 

“There is nothing except 
Our life on this earth. 

And never shall wc be 
Raised up again." 

30. If thou could si hut see 

When they shall be made to stand 
Before their Lord 
He will say: 

“Is not this the truth?” 

They will say: 

“Yea, by our Lord" 

He will say: 

“Taste ye then the Chastisement 
Because ye rejected Faith," 


31. Lost indeed are they 

Who t re at it as a falsehood 
Thai they must meet Allah,- 

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S53 Their falsity was not due to want of knowledge, hut to perversity and selfishness. 
In their heart was a disease (ii. 10): therefore neither their understanding, nor their ears, 
nor llieii eyes do their proper work. They twist what they see, hear, or are taught, and 
go deeper and deeper into the nure. The deceptions which they used to practise on other 
people will, before the Seat of Judgment, become clear in their own eyes. 

- 345 - 

S.(1 A.. 11-34 

Wlx lAr i* 

J. 7 ^Ul 

Until on a sudden 
The hour is on them. 

And they say: 14 All! woe 
Unto us that we neglected; 

For they bear their burdens*** 

On their backs. 

And evil indeed are 

The burdens that they bear? 

32. Nothing is the life of this world 
But play and amusement V" 

But best is the Home 
In the Hereafter, for those 
Who are righteous. 

Will ye not then understand? 

33. We know indeed the grief 
Which their words do cause thee: 

It is not thee they reject: 

It is the Signs of Allah, 

Which the wicked deny. 

34. Rejected were the Messengers 
Before thee: with patience 
And constancy they bore 

Their rejection and their persecution 

Until Our aid did reach 

Them: there is none 

That can alter the Words 

(And Decrees) of Allah 

Already hast thou received 

Some account of those Messengers. 

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854, Grievous is the burden of sins which the wicked will hear or their backs when 
they become conscious of them. Some Commentators personify Sins as ugly Demons 
riding on the backs of men, while the men's Good Deeds become the slrorig and patient 
mounts which all carry the men on their hacks !f the Good Deeds are few and the Sins 
many, the man and his good Deeds will he crushed under the load ol the livil which 
they cam. 

855, Play and amusement are for preparing our minds for the serious things of life: 
in themselves they are not serious. So this life is a preparation for the Ftemal Horne 
to which vve are going, which is lar more important than the ephemeral pleasures which 
may possibly seduce us in this lire. 

- 346 - 


S. 6 A. 35-37 


A g 

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35. If thuir spurning is hard 
On thee, yet if 
Thou wen able to seek 
A tunnel in the ground 
Or a ladder to the skies 
And bring them a Sign,- R% 
(Whai good?). If it were 
Allah's Will, He could 
Gather them together 
Unto true guidance: 

So be not thou 

Amongst those who are swayed 
By ignorance (and impatience)! 

Those who listen (in truth),** 
Be sure, will accept: 

As to the dead, Allah will 
Raise them up; then will they 
Be returned unto Him* 

37, They say: "Why is not 
A Sign sent down 
To him from his Lord!" 

Say: ‘ Allah hath certainly 
Power to send down a Sign: 


. 1 1 * 

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S56, There were many Signs of a divine mission m the Prophet's life and *n the 
Message which he delivered. It ilicsc did not convince the Unbelievers, was it not vain 
to seek a miraculous Sign from the bowels of the earth or by a visible ascent n> the skies? 
It in rhe Prophet's eagerness to get all lo accept his Message he was hurt at their 
callousness, active opposition, and persecution til him. he is told that it lull knowledge 
of the working of Allah's Plan would convince him that impatience was misplaced. This 
was in the days of per sect ion before the llijrat. The history in Madimih and after shows 
how Allah's truth was ultimately and triumphantly vindicated. Who among the sincere 
devotees of Muhammad can fail to read vi 33-35 without tears in his eyes? 

857 There is a double meaning here. (1) If people listen to truth sincerely and 
earnestly, they must believe: even d the spiritual faculty is dead, Allah will by His grace 
revive it and they will come to Him, if they realty try earnestly to understand. (2) The 
sincere will believe; but those whose hearts are dead will not listen, yet they cannot 
escape being brought to the Judgment Seat before Him. 

,/ri aryi iyv *•*$* * »fj>W >*% •■j$v 3 « O Vv*Vi JV$‘ m 

* 347 - 


Bui most of ilium 
Understand noi/' BW 

There is not an animal 
(That lives) on the earth* 

Nor a being that flies 
On its wings, but (forms 
Pari of) communities like you. RVf 
Nothing have We omitted 
From the Hook, and they (all) 
Shall be gathered to their Lord 
In the end. 

MK Those who reject our Signs 
Are deaf and dumb,-**’ 0 
In the midst of darkness 
Profound: whom Allah uillcth. 

1 le leave ttr to wander: 

Whom Me willeth. He plaeeth 
On the Way that is Straight. 

40. Say: "Think ye to yourselves. 

If there come upon you 
The Punishment of Allah. 

Or the Hour (that ye dread). 
Would ye then call upon 

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85S, Signs arc all around them, hui I hey do nor understand, If they want ti particular 
Sign to suit their gross ignorance, they will mu tv humoured, for they can always pick 
holes in anything that descends to their level. 

H5 4 k "Animals living on the earth " include those living m the waier, -fishes, reptiles, 
crustaceans, insects, as well as four-footed beasts. Life on the wing is separately 
mentioned. “Tiiir." which is nrdinanh translated as "bird," is anything that Hies, 
including mammals like bats. In our pride we may exclude animals from our purview, 
hut they all live a life, social and individual, like ourselves, and all life is subject to [he 
Plan and Will of Allah. In vi, 59 uc are told that not a leaf falls hui by His Will, and 
things dry and green are recorded in His Book. In other words they alt obey His 
archetypal Plan, the Booh which is also mentioned here, t hey are all answerable in their 
several degrees to llis Plan ("shall be gathered to t Heir Lord in the end"). This is not 
Pantheism: it is ascribing all life, activity, and existence to the Will and Plan of Allah. 

vS6tl. The limited free-will of man makes a little difference. If he sees the Signs hut 
shuts hts ears to the true Message, and refuses {Like a dumb thing) to speak out the 
Message which all Nature proclaims, then according to the Plan (of his limited free-will) 
he must suffer and wander, just as. in the opposite case, he will receive grace and 

- MX - 

S*6 A. 40-44 

J, 7 — Si tji-l 1 sjj-— 

Other than Allah?- 
( Reply) if ye are truthful! 

4L '*Nay,-On Him would ye 
Call, and if it be 
His Will* I \c would remove 
(The distress) which occasioned 
Your call upon Him* 

And ye would forget 
(The false gods) which ye 
Join with Him!” 


42. Before thee We sent 
(Messengers) to many nations. 

And We afflicted the nations 
With suffering and adversity* 

Thai they call (Allah) in humility, 

43. When the suffering readied 
Them from Us* why then 

Did they not call (Allah) in 
humility?** 1 

On the contrary their hearts 
Became hardened* and Satan 
Made their (sinful) aeis 
Seem alluring to them. 

44. But when they forgot 

The warning they had received. 
We opened to them the gates 
Of all (good) things,** 

* "V' F */.l" 

J, / ^ *> ‘ >> -V V *• 


\> jlL** Q l? 

Kfil. Sorrow and suffering may (if we take them rightly! turn out to be the best gifts 
of Allah lo us According to the Psalms (xeiv. 12)* ‘‘Blessed is the man whom Thou 
chastcnest. O I ord!” Through suffering we team humility* the antidote to many vices and 
the fountain of mans virtues, Dm if we take them the wrong way* we grumble and 
complain* we become i aim-hearted; and Satan gets his opportunity to exploit us by putting 
forward the alluring pleasures of Ids Vanity Fair, 

Sb2. Learning the inner truth of ourselves and the world presupposes a certain 
advanced stage of sensitiveness and spiritual development There is a shallower stage* at 
which prosperity and the good things of life may leach us sympathy and goodness and 
cheerfulness like that of Mr. Cheeribvles in Dickens. In such cases the Message takes : 

349 - 

S.6 A. 44-47 .1.7 — Jl i Jr * 

, I | 

Until, in the midst 
Of their enjoyment 
Of Our gifts. 

On a sudden. We called 
Them to account, when to! 

They were plunged in despair! 

45. Of the wrong-doers the last 
Remnant was cut off 
Praise be to Allah, 

The Chcrishcr of the Worlds.* 11 ' 

46. Say: “Think ye, if Allah 
Took away your hearing 
And your sight, and sealed up M 
Your hearts, who-a god 
Other than Allah-eould 
Restore them to you?' 1 
See how We explain 
The Signs by various (symbols); 

Yet they turn aside* 

47. Say: “Think ye, if 
The Punishment of Allah 
Comes to you. 

Whether suddenly or openly* 

Will any be destroyed 
Except those who do wrong? 


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: mot. But there is another type of character which is puffed up in prosperity. For them 
prosperity is a trial of even a punishment from the higher point of view. They go deeper 
and deeper into sin. until they tire pulled up of a sudden and then instead of being 
contrite they merely become desperate 

Kfr3, Allah's punishment of wrong-doers is a measure of justice, to protect the true 
and righteous from their depredations and maintain His righteous decrees. It is an aspect 
of His character which is emphasised by the epithet "Chcrishcr of the Worlds.” 

K64, Cf, il, 7 and n. 

Hb5 . Suddenly — without warning. Openly ~ with many warnings, even to the 
sinners, though they heed them not, As to those who understand and read the signs of 
Allah, they could always tell that all wrong-doing must eventually have its punishment. 
Bui it wilt affect the wrong-doers, not the righteous. It is justice, not revenge. 

yj il y b J if V J ^ t ifyii £^ , !» - yl. A y ti V t ^V* 4 (f yV JyV *? y 

- 350 * 

4H. We send the Messengers 
Only to give good news** 1 
And to warn: so those 
Who believe and mend 
(Their lives) -upon them 
Shall be no fear* 

Nor shall they grieve. 

4 l ). But those who reject 
Our Signs,-thcm 
Shall punishment touch* 

For that they ceased not 
From transgressing. 

50. Say: "I tell you not 
That with me 

Are the Treasures of Allah,*' 
Nor do I know 
What is hidden* 

Nor do I tell you 1 am 
An angel. I but follow 
What is revealed to me/* 

Say: “Can the blind 

Be held equal to the seeing?" 86 * 

Will ye then consider not? 

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jiji Jlufi 

HfWi. The Pniphets are not sent to cancel mans limited free-will. They are sent to 
preach and teach -to preach luipe to the repentant (“good news”)* and to warn the 
rebellious of the Wrath to come, 

S67. Literally, it might mean that the Prophets arc not like vulgar soothsayers, who 
pretend to reveal hidden treasures, or peer into future, or claim to he something of a 
different nature from men. Hut the meaning is wider: they deal out Allah's great treasures 
of truth* hut the treasures are not theirs, hut Allah's: they have greater insight into the 
higher things* bm that insight is not due to their own wisdom* hut to Allah's inspiration: 
they are of the same flesh and blood with us, and the sublimity of their words and 
teaching arises through Allah’s grace-lo them and to those who hear them, 

N6K. Therefore compare not the Prophets with ordinary men. The Prophets, although 
they he hut men, have the higher light with them; therefore do not exact of them petty 
ephemeral services. Though they are men, they are not as other men, and are entitled 
to reverence. 

-351 - 

S.6 A. 51-53 

— \\ t^i-1 

51. (Jive tins warning to those** '' 

In whose (hearts) is the fear 
That they will be brought 

(To Judgment) before their Lord: 
Except for Him 
They will have no protector 
Nor intercessor: 

That they may guard 
(Against evil), 

52. Send not away those 
Who call on their Lord 
Morning and evening, 

Seeking His Face.* 711 

In naught art thou accountable 
For them, and in naught are they 
Accountable for thee/ 71 
That thou shouldst turn 
Them away, and thus be 
(One) of the unjust. 

53* Titus did We test 
Some of them by* ' 

» * ^ -vr 

*-> > ' X. ^ 

869. Tlierc are some men -sinners- who vet believe in Judgment: lei them Ik warned 
ot their personal responsibility to guard against evil; lei them not rely upon protectors 
or intercessors before Allah; their sins wan only he forgiven by Allah's own Mercy. 

870. Face: wajh: see it 112 and n. 114. 

H7F Some of the rich and influential Quruish thought it heneath their dignity to listen 
to Muhammad's teaching in company with the lowly disciples, who were gathered round 
him. Hut he refused to send away these lowly disciples, who were sincere seekers after 
Allah. From a worldly point of view they had nothing lo gain Emin Muhammad as he 
was himself poor, and he had nothing lo gain from them as ihey had no influence. But 
that was no reason for turning them away; indeed then true sincerity entitled them to 
precedence over worldly men m the kingdom of Allah* Whose justice was vindicated in 
Muhammad's daily life in this as in other things. If their sincerity was in any way 
doubtful, il involved no responsibility for the Preacher. 

872, Pursue the argument of the last note. The influential people who were not given 
precedence over the poor and humble but sincere disciples, were on their trial as to their 
spiritual insight. Their temptation was to say (and they said it in scorn): "We are much 
greater than they: has Allah then selected these lowly people for His teaching?*' Hut that 
was so. And Allah knew best those who were grateful to Him for His guidance. 

- 352 - 


i hr* 

Others, that they 
Should suy: “Is it these 
Then that Allah hath 
Favoured from amongst us?" 
Doth not Allah know best 
Those who are grateful? 

54, When those come to thee 
Who believe in Our Signs, 
Say: “Peace be on you: 87 * 
Your Lord hath inscribed 
For Himself (the rule 874 
Of) Mercy: verily. 

If any of you did evil 
In ingnorance, and thereafter 
Repented, and amended 
(His conduct), lo! He is 
Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful, 

55, Thus do We explain 
The Signs in detail: 

That the way of the sinners 
May be shown up. s7> 


56, Say:" 6 “1 am forbidden*' 

To worship t hose-others 

jii ‘k ^ a»- ' 

X ^ ^ ^ ^ J + s / <*** 

^ ^ **:r 

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H73. The humble who had sincere faith, were not only not seni away lo humour the 
wealthy: they were honoured and were given a special salutation, which has become the 
characteristic salutation in Islam: "Peace he on you,"- the word peace, "saifim having 
special affinity with the word "I shim , " In words they are given the salutation: in life they 
are promised Mercy hy the special grace of Allah, 

H74. if. vi* 12. 

N75. IF the way of the sinners (in jealousy and worldly pride) is shown up, and details 
are given how to honour the truly sincere, it forms the best illustration of the teaching 
of Allah, 

H7h There are a number of arguments now pul forward against the Mukkans who 
refused to believe in Allah’s Message. Each argument is introduced with the word “Say," 
Here are the first four: (1)1 have received Light and will follow it: (2) I prefer my Light 
to your vain desires: (3) your challenge- if there is a God, why does He not finish the 


r v -v 


- 353 - 

S.C> A. 56-59 

jUI -jJUI 

Than A Hah- w hom ye 
Call upon/’ Say: “I will 
Not follow your vain desires: 

[f 1 did, 1 would stray 
From the path, and be not 
Of the company of those 
Who receive guidance/* 

Say: “For me, 1 am 
On a clear Sign from my Lord, 
But ye reject Him. What ye* 77 
Would see hastened, is not 
In my power. The Command 
Rests with none but Allah: 

He declares the Truth, 

And He is the best of judges," 

Say: “If what ye would see 
Hastened were in my power. 

The matter would be settled 
At once between you and me:*'* 
But Allah knoweth best 
Those who do wrong." 

With Him are the keys*™ 

Of the Unseen, the treasures 
That none knoweth but He 
lie knoweth whatever there is 
On the earth and in the sea, 

Nut a leaf doth fall 

' . } , r s' ■ ; * > “'"' ii * z z* 

^ 0 j ^ L* „ L> 

$)<aA2& t 









blasphemers at onee?"-il is not for me to take up: punishment rests with Allah: (4) if 
it rested with me. it would be for me to take up your challenge; all 1 know is that Allah 
is not unacquainted with the existence of folly and wickedness, and many other tilings 
besides, that no mortal can know; you can see little glimpses of His Plan, and you can 
be sure that He will not he tardy in calling you to account. 

K77. What ye would see hastened: what ye, denier s of Allah, are so impatient about; 
the punishment which ye mockingly say does not come to you, C/. xiii. 6, 

878. The Messenger of Allah is noi here to settle scores with the wicked. It is not 
a matter between them and him. h is a matter between (Item and Allah: lie is only a 
warner against sin. and a declarer of the gospel of salvation. 

879. Mafdtih: Plural of either mifidh -a key. or maftdh a treasure. Both meanings 
are implied, and 1 have accordingly put both in my translation. 







JSa ,p 


- 354 - 

Bui with His knowledge: 

There is not a grain 
In the darkness (or depths) 

Of the earth, nor anything 
Fresh or dry (green or withered ), 
But is (inscribed) in a Record® 81 
Clear (to those who can read), 

60. Ii is He Who doth lake 
Your souls by night. 

And hath knowledge of atl 
Thai ye have done by day: 

By day doth He raise 
You up again; that a term 
Appointed be fulfilled; 

In the end unto Him 
Will be your return;** 1 
Then will ! ie show you 
The truth of all 
That ye did. 


61. He is Irresistibly, 

Supreme over 1 1 is servants 
And He sets guardians® 2 
Over you* Al length. 

I v 

SKU, fills is the archetypal Plan, the Fternal Law* according to which everything seen 
and unseen is ordered and regulated* The simplest things in Nature are subject in His 
Law. [he fresh and the withered* the living and the lifeless nothing is outside the Plan 
id His Creation, 

881. As the rest of Ihs Creation is subject to His Law and Plan, so is man’s life in 
every particular and al every moment* awake or asleep [lie mystery of Sleep- 4 * the twin 
brother of death" -is called the taking of our soul hv Him* with the record of all we have 
done in our waking moments* and this record some limes appears to us in confused 
glimpses in dreams. By day we awaken again ro our activities* and so it goes on until 
we fulfil the term of our life appointed for this earth. Then comes the other Sleep (death), 
with the longer record of our Day (Life); and then, in the end comes the Resurrection 
and Judgment, at which we see everything clearly and not as in dreams, for that is the 
final Reality, 

882. Guardians: most C ommentators understand this to mean guardian angels. The 
idea of guardianship is expressed in a general term. Allah watches over as and guards 
us. and provides all kinds of agencies, material* moral* and spiritual, to help our growth 
and development, keep us from harm, and bring us nearer to our Destiny, 


- 355 - 


S.6A.61-63 J, 7 1 _ 


When death approaches 
One of you. Our angels 8 * 3 
Take his soul, and they 
Never fail in their duly. 

Then are they returned 
Unto Allah, their True Protector, 
Surely His is the Command , m 
And He is the Swiftest 
In taking account. 

Say:* 15 "Who is ii 
That detivereth you 
From the dark recesses®* 6 
Of land and sen, 

When ye call upon 1 1 ini 
In humility 
And in secret:®* 7 
‘If He only delivers us 
From these (dangers), 

(We vow) wc shall truly 
Show our gratitude*,? 1 * 

SH.V Angles: the word used is now/, the Sent Gnes,-the same word as for human 
Messengers sent hy Allah 10 teach mankind. The angels who come to take our souls at 
death are accurate in the performance of their duty. They come neither before nor after 
thetr appointed time, nor do they do it in any manner other than that fixed by the 
Command of Allah 

&K4, At-htiqq, the Truth, the only True One. Tire point is that our illusions of the 
life of tins lower world now vanish, when we are rendered back to Cimt. And now we 
find that so far from the results of our actions being delayed, they follow more swiftly 
than we can express in terms of Time. Here is the answer to the taunt of those who 
were impatient of the working of God’s Plans (vi. 57*58). 

KK? In continuation of the four heads of argument referred 10 in n. K76, we have 
three more heads here in vi. 63-65: (5) your calling upon Him in times of danger shows 
that m the depths of your hearts you feel His need: (6) Allah’s Providence saves you, 
and yet you ungratefully run after false gods; (7) it is not oidy physical calamities that 
you have to fear; your mutual discords and vengeances arc even more destructive, and 
only faith in Allah can save you from them. 

SSh 7 n l ti mth: dark recesses, terrible lurking dangers, as in deserts or mountains, or 
forests, or seas. 

tfS7, There are two readings, hut they both ultimately yield the same meaning. (1} 
Kht tfytittm, silently, secretly, front the depth of your inner heart, suggesting unspeakable 
terror, (2) KJi ifiitatt. out of terror or fear or reverence, as m vii. 205. 


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- 356 - 

S.6 A. 64-67 

1 fU^Vl *JJ~* 


. Say: "It is Allah 
That deli vcrcth you 
From these and all (other) 
Distresses: and yet 
Ye worship false gods!" 

65. Say: “He hath power 
To send calamities 888 
On you, from above 
And below, or to cover 
You with confusion 

In party strife. 

Giving you a taste 
Of mutual vengeance- 
Each from the tit her". 

Sec how We explain 
The Signs in diverse ways; 88 
That they may understand. 

66. Bui thy people reject 
This, though it is 

The Truth. Say: "Not mine 

Is the responsibility 

For arranging your affairs; 8 ' 8 

67. For every Prophecy 
Is a limit of time. 

And soon shall ye 
Know it.” 

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HKH, Calamities from above ami Mow: such as storms and blizzards, torrential rain, 
vie., or earthquakes, floods, landslides, etc. 

KH l J. C f. vL 46, where this refrain commences the argument now draw me to u close. 

S^J. At the dale of this revelation, the Messenger’s people had as a body not only 
rejected Allah's truth, but were persecuting it. The Messenger's duty was to deliver his 
Message, which he did. He was not responsible for their conduct, Bui he told them plainly 
that all warnings bom Allah had their time limit, as they would soon find out. And the) 
did find out within a very few years. For the leaders of the resistance came to an evil 
end, and their whole system of fraud and selfishness was destroyed, to make room for the 
purer Faith of Islam. A pan from that particular application, there is the more general 
application for the present lime and for all time. 

, 5 

* 357 - 

S.6 A. 68-70 

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When thou secst men 
Engaged in vain discourse 
About Our Sings, turn 
Away from them unless 
They turn to a different^ 1 
rheme. If Satan ever 
Makes thee forget, then 
After recollection, sit not 
Thou in the company 
Of those who do wrong. 

69. On their account 
No responsibility 
Falls on the righteous 
But (their duty) 

Is to remind them* 

That they may (learn 
To) fear Allah. 

70* Leave alone those 

Who take their religion 
To be mere play 
And amusement 
And arc deceived 
By the life of this world. 

But continue to admonish them 
With it (Al-Our-an) 

Lest a soul is caught 
In Its own ruin 
By its own action: 

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891 , Cy »v. 140. If in any gathering truth is ridiculed, we must not sit in such 

company. It we find ourselves in it* as soon as we realise it* we must show our 

disapproval hy leaving. 

892, Every man is responsible lor Ins own conduct* But the righteous have two 

duties: (l) to protect themselves from infection, and (2) h> proclaim Allah's truth, for 

even in the most unlikely circumstances, it is possible that it may have some effect. 

893, cy vi* 32* where we are told that the life of thK world is mere play and 
amusement, and Religion and the Hereafter are the serious things that require our 
attention. Worldly people reverse this* because they are deceived by the allurements of 
(his life. But their own acts will find them out, 

894, We must never forget onr own personal responsibility for all we do* or deceive 
ourselves bv the illusion of vicarious atonement. 

- 358 - 

S.6 A. 70-71 

J. 7 


It will find for itself 
No protector or intercessor 
Except Allah: if it offered 
Every ransom, (or 
Reparation), none 
Will be accepted: such is 
(The end of) those who 
Deliver themselves to ruin 
By their own acts: 

They will have for drink 
(Only) boiling water. 

And for punishment 
One most grievous: 

For they persisted 
In rejecting Allah, 


Say. m "Shall wc 
Call on others besides Allah, 
Things that can do tis 
Neither good nor harm,' 

And turn on our heels 
After receiving guidance 
From Allah?-ltke one 
Whom the Satans 
Have made into a lool. 

Wa n de ring be wi I dc re d 
Through the earth, his friends 
Calling ‘Come to us*. 

(Vainly) guiding him to the Path. 

Say: "Allah's guidance 
Is the (only) guidance, 


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895, In continuation of the seven heads of argument referred to in nn. &1(\ and NN5, 
we have here the final two heads: (K) who would, after receiving guidance from die living, 
eternal God, turn to lifeless idols? To do so would indeed show that we were made into 
fools, wandering to a precipice; < y > therefore accept the only true guidance, the guidance 
of Allah, arid obey His Law, tor wc shall have to answer before His judgment- seat. 

* 359 - 


And we have been directed 
To submit ourselves 
To I he Lord of the worlds 

72. “To establish regular prayers 
And to fear Allah: 

For it is to Him 
That we shall be 
Gathered together. 11 

73. It is 1 le Who created 
The heavens and the earth 
With truth: 89 * 1 

The day He saith, “Be,” 
Behold! it is. His Word 
Is the Truth. His will be 
The dominion the day 
The trumpet will be blown. 
He knoweth the Unseen 
As well as that which is 
Open. For He 
Is the Wise, well acquainted 
(With all things). 

74. Lo! Abraham said 
To his father Azar: 

"Takes! thou idols for gods? 
For I see Ihee 

And thy people 
In manifest error/ 1 

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8%, The argument mounts up here, leading to the great insight of Abraham die true 
in faith, who did not stop short at the winders of nature, hut penetrated “from nature 
up to nature's God/* Allah not only created the heavens and the earth: with every 
increase of knowledge we see in what true and perfect proportions all Creation is held 
together. Creatures are subject to Time, but the Creator is not: His word is the key that 
opens (he door of existence. U is no! only the starting point of existence* hut the whole 
measure and standard of Truth and Right. There may possibly he* to our sight in this 
great world, aberrations of human or other wills, but the moment the trumpet sounds 
for the lust day. His judgment -seat will, with perfect justice* restore the dominion of Right 
and Reality* For His knowledge and wisdom cover all reality. 

- 360 - 

S.6 A. 75*77 J. 7 gUW>U *\ ijj- 



75, So also did We show*' 1 
Abraham the kingdom 
Of the heavens 

And the earth, that he 
Might have certitude, 

76, When the night 
Covered him over, 

He saw a star; 

He said; "This is mv Lord. 
Bui when it set. 

He said. “I love not 
Those that set/ #WH 

77, When he saw the moon 
Rising in splendour. 

He said: “This is my Lord. 
But when the moon set. 
lie said: “Unless my Lord 
Guide me, I shall surely 
Be among those 
Who go astray/" 899 


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K97. Now comes the story of Abraham. He lived among the Chaldeans, who had 
great knowledge of the stars and heavenly bodies. But he got beyond that physical world 
and saw the real world behind. Ilis ancestral idols meant nothing to him. That was the 
first step. But Allah took him many degrees higher, Allah showed him with certitude the 
glories behind the magnificent powers and laws of the physical universe, 

898, This shows the stages of Abraham's enlightenment. It should not be supposed 
that he literally worshipped stars or heavenly bodies. Having seen through the folly of 
ancestral idol worship, he began to see the futility of worshipping distant beautiful things 
that shine, which the vulgar endue with a power which does not reside in them. A type 
of such is a star shining in the darkness of the night. Superstition might read fortunes 
in it, but truer knowledge shows that it rises and sets according to laws whose author 
is Allah. And its light is extinguished in the broader light of day; Its worship is therefore 
futile. It is not a Power, much less the Supreme Power. 

According to some commentators the whole thrust of Abraham’s reasoning in verses 
76-78 is directed against the superstitious beliefs of his people and demonstrates the folly 
of worshipping stars and other heavenly bodies. As such his statements may be seen as 
premises of his arguments against Polytheism rather than as stages in his enlightenment. 

899. The moon, though it looks bigger and brighter than the star, turns out on closer 
knowledge, not only to set like the star, but to change its shape from hour to hour, and 
even to depend for her light on some other body! How deceptive are appearances! Thai 
is not Allah! At that stage you begin to search for something more reliable than 
appearances to the eye in the darkness of the night. You ask for guidance from Allah. 


- 361 - 


J. 7 ^Ul 


78. When he saw the sun 
Rising (in splendour.) 

He said: “This is my Lord; 
This is the greatest (of all).*' 
Hut when the sun set. 

I le said: “O my people! 

1 am indeed free 
From your (guilt) 

Of giving partners to Allah . 

79, “For me, l have set 

My face, firmly and truly. 
Towards Him Who created 
The heavens and the earth. 
And never shall I give 
Partners to Allah." 

His people disputed'* 11 
With him. He said: 

“(Come) ye to dispute 
With me, about Allah, 

When He (Himself) 

Hath guided me? 

1 fear not (the beings) 

Ye associate with Allah 
Unless my Lord willeth, 
(Nothing can happen). 

My Lord comprehended! 

In His knowledge all things. 


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WML The next stage is the sun. You are in the open light of Day. Now you have 
the right due. You see ihe biggest object in I he heavens. Hut is it the biggest? There 
arc thousands of stars in the universe bigger than the sun. And every day the sun appears 
and disappears from your sight. Such is not God who created you and all these wonderful 
works of Mis. What folly to worship creatures, when we might turn to the true God? 
Let us abjure all these follies and proclaim the one true God. 

901. The story of Abraham is highly instructive for all men in quest of truth. If 
enlightenment go so far as to take a man beyond his ancestral worship, people will come 
to dispute with him. They will frighten him with the dire co usque rices of his dissent. What 
docs he care? He has found Ihe truth. He is free from superstitious fears, for has he 
not found the true God, without Whose Will nothing can happen? On the contrary' he 
knows that it is the godless who have just grounds for fear. And he offers admonition 
to them, and arguments that should bring them the dearness of truth instead of the 
vagueness and mystery of superstition, “the security of Faith instead of the haunting fear 
of those who have no dear guidance. 

J V T * * - r v v v 


- 362 * A. 80-84 

j . 7 H ^r 1 

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Will yc not (yourselves) 

Be admonished? 

8], "How should I fear 

(The beings) ye associate 
With Allah, when ye 
Fear not to give partners 
To Allah without any warrant 
Having been given to you? 
Which of (us) two parties 
Hath more right to security? 
(Tell me) if ye know-. 

82, "It is those who believe 
And mix not their beliefs 
With wrong w,1 “ A -thai arc 
(Truly) in security, for they 
Are on (right) guidance/* 


S3. That was Our argument 
Which We gave to Abraham 
(To use) against his people: 
We raise whom We will * 
Degree after degree: 

For thy Lord is full 
Of wisdom and knowledge. 

K4. We gave him Isaac 
And Jacob: all (three) 

We guided:'* 1 ' 

And before him. 


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901 -A. The word "wrong" here refers to ascribing partners to Allah as has been 
stated by the Prophet (peace he on him) in his explanation of the verse. 

902, The spiritual education of Abraham raised him many degrees above his 

contemporaries, and he was expected to use that knowledge and dignity for preaching the 
truth among his own people. 

903, We have now a list of eighteen Prophets in four groups, covering the great 

Teachers accepted among the three great religions based on Moses, Jesus, and 
Muhammad, The first group to be mentioned is that of Abraham, his son Isaac, and 

Isaacs son Jacob, Abraham wais the first to have a Book. His Hook is mentioned in 0. 

Ixxxvii. 19, though it is now lost. They were therefore the first to receive Guidance in 
the sense of a Book. 

- 363 - 

S*6 A.84-87 

J, 7 ^1 — ^ 

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We guided Noah* 

And among his progeny, 

David* Solomon* Job* 

Joseph, Moses, and Aaron: 

Thus do We reward 
'Those who do good: 

85. And Zakariya and John?® 

And Jesus and Elias: 

All in the ranks 
Of the Righteous: 

80. And Ismail and Elisha* 906 
And Jonas, and Lot: 

And to all We gave 
Favour above the nations: 

87, (To them) and to their fathers*' 
And progeny and brethren: 

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904* In the second group, we have the great founders of families* apart from 
Abraham, viz., Noah, of the time of the Flood: David and Solomon* the real establishcrs 
of the Jewish monarchy: Job, who lived 140 years, saw four generations of descendants, 
and was blessed at (he end of his life with large pastoral wealth (Job xlih 16* 12): Joseph* 
who as Minister of State did great things in Egypt and was the progenitor of two Tribes; 
and Moses and Aaron* the leaders of the Exodus from Egypt. They led active lives and 
are called "doers of good*** 

905. The third group consists not of men of action, but Preachers of Truth, who led 
solitary lives. Their epithet is: “the Righteous." They form a connected group round 
Jesus. Zakariya was the father of John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus (iii 37-41); 
and Jesus referred to John the Baptist as Elias: “this is Elias* which was to come" (Malt, 
xi. 14); and Elias is said to have been present and talked io Jesus at the Transfiguration 
on the Mount (Matt xvii, 3). Elias is the same as Elijah. 

906. This is the last group* described as those “favoured above the nations." It 
consists of four men who had all great misfortunes to contend with, and were concerned 
in the clash id nations* but they kept in (lie path of Allah, and came through above the 
clash of nations. Isma'il was the eldest son of Abraham: when he was a baby, he and 
his mother had nearly died ot thirst in the desert round Makkah hut they were saved 
bv the well of Znmzarn* and he became the founder of the new Arab nation. Elisha (Al* 
Vasa’) succeeded to the mantle of the Prophet Elijah (same as Elias, see last note); he 
lived in troublous times for both the Jewish kingdoms (of Judah and Israel); there were 
wicked kings* and other nations were pressing in on them: but he performed many 
miracles, and some check was given to the enemies under his advice. The story of Jonas 
(Yunus) is well-known: he was swallowed by a fish or whale* hut was saved by Allah's 
mercy: through his preaching, his city (Nineveh) was saved (x. 98). Lot was a 
contemporary and nephew of Abraham: when the city of Sodom was destroyed for its 
wickedness, he was saved as a just man (vii. 80-84). 

907. I lake verse 87 io refer back to all the four groups just mentioned. 

- 364 - 

S.6 A. 87-91 


90 * 

91 . 

We chose them, 

And We guided them 
To a straight Way. 

This is the Guidance 
Of Allah: He glveth 
That guidance to whom 
He plcaseth, of His servants 
If they were to join 
Other gods with Him, 

All that they did 
Would be vain for them. 

These were the men 
To whom We gave 
The Book, and Judgement, 

And Prophet hood: if these 
(Their descendants) reject them, 
Behold! We shall entrust 
Their charge to a new People 
Who reject them noL 

Those were the (prophets) 

Who received Allah's guidance. 
Follow the guidance they received; 
Say: 14 No reward for this 
Do I ask of you: 

This is but 

A Reminder to the nations. 

No just estimate of Allah 909 
Do they make when they say: 
"Nothing doth Allah send down 
To man {by way of revelation)": 

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008. 77rewi* /.r. t the Book, and Authority and Prophet hood. They were taken away 
from the other People of the Book and entrusted to the holy Prophet Muhammad and 
his People, 

909. Qadara: to weigh, judge, or estimate the value or capacity of anything: to have 
power so to do. C/, Qadir in iv, 149 and n* 655. The Jews who denied the inspiration 
of Muhammad had a good answer in their own books about the inspiration of Moses. 
To those who do not believe in Moses* the answer is more general: is it a just estimate 

* 365 - 

S. 6 A. 91-92 

J . 7 *)A-i 

Say: "Who then sent down 
The Book which Moses brought?^ 

A light and guidance to man: 9 ™ 

But ye make it into 
(Separate) sheets for show, 911 
While ye conceal much 
(Of its contents): therein 
Were ye taught that 
Which ye knew not- 
Neither ye nur your fathers." 

Say: "Allah (sent it down)": 

Then leave them to plunge 
In vain discourse and trifling. 

92, And this is a Book 

Which We have sent down, 

Bringing blessings. 912 and confirming 
(The revelations) which came 
Before it: that thou 
Mayest warn the Mother 913 
Of Cities and all around her. 


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of Allah to think either that He has not the power or the will to guide mankind, seeing 
that He is Omnipotent and the Source of all good! If you say that guidance comes, not 
through an inspired book or man, but through our general intelligence, we point U> the 
spiritual ignorance of “you and your ancestors” the sad spiritual darkness of men and 
nations high in the intellectual scale, 

9 10. Cf. v. 44 and n. 750. and v. 46. In those passages Guidance is pul before Light, 
as they refer to ordinary or average men. Here Light is put first as the question is; does 
Allah send inspiration? 

91 L The Message to Moses had unity: it was one Book, the present Old Testament 
is a collection of odd books (“sheets”) of various kinds: see Appendix II. end of S. v. 
In this way you can make a show, but there is no unity, and much of the spirit of the 
original is lost or concealed or overlaid. The same applies to the Mew Testament: sec 
Appendix HI, after Appendix 11. 

9J2, Mubarak: blessed, as having received Allah's blessing: bringer of blessings to 
others, as having been blessed by Allah. Allah’s highest blessing is the Guidance and 
Light which (he Book brings to us. and which brings us nearer to Him, 

913. Mother of Cities; Makkah now the Qibfa and Centre of Islam. If this verse was 
(like the greater part of the Chapter) revealed in Makkah before the Hijrat, and before 
Mukkah was made the Gibln of Islam. Makkah was nonetheless the Mother of Cities, 
being traditionally associated with Abraham (see it, 125, and ri, 217 to ii. 197). 

All roam! Makkah: would mean, the whole world if we look upon Makkah as the 

- 366 - 

S. 6 A. 92-94 J. 7 

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Those who believe 
In the Hereafter 
Believe in this (Book), 

And they are constant 
In guarding their Prayers,^ 14 

93. Who can be more wicked 
Than one who inventeth 
A lie against Allah, 

Or saith, ll I have 
Received inspiration,” 

When he hath received 
None, or (again) who saith. 

4 T can reveal the like 
Of what Allah hath revealed”? 
If thou couldst but sec 
How the wicked (do fare) 

In the agonies 
Of death !— the angels 
Stretch forth their hands, 
(Saying), 4 ‘Yield up your souls: 
This day shall yc receive 
Your reward ,-a chastisement 
Of disgrace, for that ye used 
To tell lies against Allah, 

And scornfully to reject 
Of His Signs!” 

94. 44 And behold! ye come 
To Us bare and alone 
As We created you 
For the first time: yifl 


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914, An earnest study of the Qur-an is true worship: so is Prayer, and so are aH 
deeds of goodness and charity. 

915, Yield up vour souls; or M get your souls to come out of your bodies. 41 The 
wicked, we may suppose, arc not anxious to part with the material existence in their 
bodies for the "reward” which in irony is stated to be there to welcome them. 

916, Some of the various ideas connected with "creation 11 are noted in n. 120 to ii. 
117. In the creation of man there are various processes. If his body was created out of 
clay, i.e rj earthy matter, there was an earlier process of the creation of such earthy 
matter. Here the body is left behind, and the soul is being addressed. The soul underwent 


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- 367 - 

A, 94-95 

J. 7 M 


95 , 

Ye have left behind you 
All (the favours) which 
We bestowed on you: 

We see not with you 
Your intercessors 
Whom ye thought to be 
Partners in your affairs: 

So now all relations 
Between yon have been 
Cut off, and your (pet) fancies 
Have left you in the lurch! 917 


It is Allah Who causelh 918 
The seed-grain 
And the date-stone 
To split and sprout. 919 
lie cause th the living 

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various processes of fashioning and adapting to its various functions in its various 
surroundings (xxxii. 7-9). But each individual soul, after release from the body, comes 
hack as ii was created* with nothing more than its history, “the deeds which it has 
earned.” which are really a part of it. Any exterior 1 lungs given to help in its 
development, "the favours which We bestowed on you,” it must necessarily leave behind, 
however it may have been proud of them. These exterior things may be material things, 
e.g., wealth, property, signs of power, influence and pride such as sons, relatives, and 
friends, etc., or they may he intangible things, like talents, social gifts, etc. 

9 1 7 . The false ideas of intercessors, demi-gods, gods, saviours, etc., now vanish like 
unsubstantial visions, 'leaving not a wrack behind.' 1 Now the soul is face to face with 
reality. Its personal responsibility is brought home to it. 

918. Another beautiful nature passage, referring to Allah's wonderful artistry in His 
Creation. In how few and how simple words, the whole pageant of Creation is placed 
before us. Beginning from our humble animal needs and dependence on the vegetable 
world, we are asked to contemplate the interaction of the living and the dead. Here is 
a teaching, referring not only to physical life but to the higher life above the physical 
plane, -not only to individual life hut to the collective life of nations. Then we take a 
peep into the daily miracle of morning, noon, and night, and pass on to the stars that 
guide the distant mariner. We rise still higher to the mystery of the countless individuals 
from the one human soul, -their sojourn and their destiny. So we gel hack to the heavens: 
the description of the luscious fruits which the “gentle rain from heaven” produces, leaves 
us to contemplate the spiritual fruits which faith will provide for us, with the aid of the 
showers of Allah's mercy. 

919. The seed-grain and the date-stone arc selected as types in the vegetable 
kingdom, showing how our physical life depends on it. The fruits mentioned later (in vi. 
99) start another allegory which we shall notice later. Botanists will notice that the seed- 

- 368 - 

S.6 A. 95*96 

J, 7 ^1—3 1 


T o issue from l he dead. 

And He is the One 
To cause the dead 
To issue from the living.^ 1 
That is Allah: then how 
Are ye deluded 
Away from the truth? 

%« He it is that cleavelh 

The day-break (from the dark): 
He makes the night 
For rest and tranquillity. 

And the sun and moon 
For the reckoning (of time): 
Such is live judgment 121 

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grain includes the cereals (such as wheat, harley, rice, millet, etc.) which are 
monocotyledons, as well as the pulses (such as beans, peas, gram etc.) and other seeds 
which are dicotyledons. Ihesc two represent the most important classes of food-grains, 
while the date-palm a monocotyledon, represents for Arabia both food, fruit, 
confectionery, thatch and pillars for houses, shady groves in oases, and a standard 
measure of wealth and well being. "Split and sprout": both ideas are included in the root 
falaqa, and a third is expressed by the word “cleave” in the next verse for the action 
of evolving day-break from the dark. For vegetables, “split and sprout” represents a 
double process: (l) the seed divides, and (2) one pari shouls up, seeking the light, anti 
forming leaves and the visible parts of the future tree, and the other part digs down into 
the dark, forming the roots and seeking just that sustenance from the soil, which is 
adapted for the particular plant . This is just one small instance of the ‘judgment and 
ordering” of Allah, referred to in the next verse. 

920. This does not mean that in physical nature there are no limits between life and 
non-life, between the organic and the non-organic. In fact physicists are baffled at the 
barrier between them and frankly confess that they cannot strive the mystery of Life. If 
there is such a barrier in physical nature, is it not all the more wonderful that Allah can 
create Life out of nothing? He has hut to say, "Be,” and it is. l ie can bring Life from 
non- Life and annihilate Life. But there are two other senses in which we can contemplate 
the contrast between the living and the dead. (!) We have just been speaking of the 
botanical world. Take it as a whole, and see the contrast between the winter of death, 
the spring of revivification, the summer of growth, and the autumn of decay, leading back 
to the death of winter. Here is a cycle of living from dead, ami dead from living. (2) 
Take our spiritual life, individual or collective. We rise from the darkness of spiritual 
nothingness to the light of spiritual life. Ami ir we do riot follow the spiritual laws, Allah 
will take away that life and we shall be again as dead. We may die many deaths. The 
keys of life and dcaih are in Allah's hands. Neither Life nor Death are fortuitous things. 
Behind them both is Allah and only He, 

921. The night, the day, the sun, the moon, -The great astronomical universe of Allah. 
How far, and yet how near to us! Allah's universe is boundless, and we can barely 
comprehend even its relations to us. But this last we must try to do if we want to be 
numbered with “the people who know” Taqdir: Cf. vi. 91 and n. 909, iv. 149 and n. 655. 

- 369 - 

S,6 A .96-99 

And ordering of (Him), 

The Exalted in Power. 

The Omniscient. 

97. It is He Who maketh 

The stars (as beacons) for you. 
Tit at ye may guide yourselves. 
With their help, 

Through the dark spaces 
Of land and sea: 922 
Wc detail Our Signs 
For people who know. 

98. It is He Who hath 
Produced you 922 
From a single soul: 

Then there is a resting place 
And a repository: 924 
We detail Our signs 
For people who understand. 

99. It is He Who sendeth down 
Rain from the skies: 

With it VVc produce 
Vegetation of all kinds: 


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922. See the last note. At sea, or in deserts or forests, ur “in fairy scenes forlorn."— 
whenever wc sweep over wide spaces, it is the stars that act as our guides, just as the 
sun and moon have already been mentioned as our measures of time. 

923. Produced: amha'u - made you grow, increase, develop, reach maturity: another 
of the processes of creation. This supplements a. 120 to ii, 117 and n. 916 to vL 94, 
It is one of the wonders of Allah’s Creation, that from one person wc have grown to 
he so many, and each individual has so many faculties and capacities, and yet we are 
all one. In the next verse we have the allegory of grapes and other fruits: all grapes may 
he similar to look at, yet each variety has a distinctive flavour and other distinctive 
qualities, and each individual grape may have ils own special qualities. So for man. 

924. In the sojourn of this life we must respond to Allah’s hand in fashioning us, 
by making full use of all our faculties, and we must get ready for our departure into 
the Life that will be eternal. 

925. Our allegory now brings us to maturity, the fruit, the harvest, the vintage, 
through the seed we came up from nothingness of life: we lived our daily life of rest 
and work and passed the mile-stones of time: we had the spiritual experience of traversing 
through vast spaces in the spiritual world, guiding our course through the star of Faith; 
we grew; and now For the harvest or the vintage! So will man if he has produced the 
fruits of Faith! 


- 370 - 

S.6 A.99-100 

1 by* 

From some We produce 
Green (crops), out of which 
We produce, 

Close-compounded grain 
Oiil of the date-palm 
And its sheaths (or spathes) 
(Come) clusters of dates 
Hanging low and near: 

And (then there are) gardens 
Of grapes, and olives. 

And pomegranates, 

Each similar (in kind) 

Yet different (in variety): 926 
When they begin to bear fruit. 
Feast your eyes with the fruit 
And the ripeness thereof. 927 
Behold! in these things 
There are Signs for people 
Who belie vc. 92 * 

100* Yet they make 
The iin ns equals* 29 

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*J2 fs . Each fruit-whether it is grapes, or olives, or pomegranates -looks alike in its 
species, and yet each variety may he different in flavour, consistency, shape, size, colour, 
juice or oil contents, proportion of seed to fruit* etc, in each variety individuals may be 
different. Apply the allegory to man, whose varied spiritual fruit may be equally different 
and yet equally valuable! 

927. And so we finish this wonderful allegory. Search through the world's literature, 
and see if you can find another such melody or hymn, -so fruity in its literary flavour, 
so profound in its spiritual meaning! 

928. There is a refrain in this beautiful descriptive verses. In verse 97 it is: "We 
detail Our Signs for people who know." So far we were speaking of the things we see 
around us every day. Knowledge is the appropriate instrument for these things. In verse 
98 we read: *\Ve detail Our Signs for people who umier.siam!." Understanding is a higher 
faculty than knowledge, and is necessary for seeing the mystery and meaning of this life, 

Ai the end of verse 99 we have: l 'ln these things Ihere are Sings for people who believe. " 
Here we are speaking of the real fruits of spiritual Life. For them Faith Is necessary, 
as bringing us nearer to Allah. 

929. Jinns: who are they? In xviii, 50, we are told that I hi is was one of the Jinns, 
and it is suggested that that was why he disobeyed the Command of Allah. But in that 
passage and other similar passages, we are told that Allah commanded the angels to how 
down to Adam, and they obeyed except I bits. That implies that Iblis had been of the 
company of angels. In many passages Jinns and men are spoken of together. In Iv. 14-15, = 

* 371 - 

With Allah, though Allah 
Did create the Jinns; 

And they falsely. 

Having no knowledge, 
Attribute to Him 
Sons and daughters, 

Praise and glory be 

To 1 lim! (for 1 le is) above 

What they attribute to I lim 


Wonderful Originator 
Of the heavens and the earth 
I low can He have a son 
When He hath no consort? 

1 !e created all things. 

And He hath full knowledge 
Of all things. 

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That is Allah, your Lord! 
There is no god but He, 
The Creator oT all things: 
Then worship ye Him: 
And He hath power 
To dispose of all affairs. 

No vision can grasp Him* 
But His grasp is over 
All vision; lie is 
Subtle well-aware?* 1 

S.6 A, 100- 103 


— man is stated to have been created from day, while Jinns from a flame of fire. The root 
meaning of jtmmi , yujtmnu, is “to be covered or hidden,' 1 arid janna yajunmt, in the active 
voice, “to cover or hide,” as in vi. 76. (Both the Quran and the Hadith descibe the 
Jinn as a definite species of living beings. They are created out of fire and like man, 
may believe or disbelieve, accept or reject guidance. The authoritative Islamic texts show 
that they arc not merely a hidden force, or a spirit. They are personalized beings who 
enjoy a certain amount of free will and thus will be called to account. 

930. Cf ii. 117 and n. 120, 

931. Latff: fine, subtle, so fine and subtle as to be invisible to the physical eye: so 
fine as to be imperceptible to the senses. Cf xxii. 63, and n, 2844, 

- 372 - 

11 Now have come 10 you. 
From your Lord proofs 
(To open your eyes): 

If any will sec, 

It will be for (the good 
Of) his own soul: 

If any will he blind, 
h will be to his own 
(Harm): I am not (here) 

To watch over your doings . 1 

Thus do We explain 

The Signs by various (ways)' 

That they may say, 

"Thou hast learnt this 
(From somebody). 

And that We may make 
The matter dear 
To those who know * 9,14 

Follow what thou art taught 
By inspiration from thy Lord 
There is no god but He: 

And turn aside from those 
Who join gods with Allah. 

If it had been Allah's Will , 93 
They would not have taken 

932. I understand “Say" to be understood in the beginning of this verse. The words 
would then be the words of the Prophet, as in fact is suggested in verse 107 below. That 
is why l have enclosed them in inverted commas. 

934, The teaching in the Qur-fm explains things by various symbols, parables, 
narratives, and appeals lo nature. Those who were in search of knowledge and hud thus 
acquired some knowledge of spiritual things were greatly helped to understand more 
clearly the things of which, before the varied explanations, they had only one-sided 

935. Allah's Plan is to use the human will to co-operate in understanding Him and 
His relations to us. This is the answer to an objector who might say: ''If He is All- 
powerful, why does sin or evil exist in the world? Can He not destroy it?" He can, but 
His Plan is different, and in any case it is not for a Prophet to force any one to accept 
the truths which he is inspired to preach and proclaim. 

S.6 A, 104-107 

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- 373 - 

S,6 A, 107-109 


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False gods: but We 
Made thee not one 
To watch over their doings, 
Nor art thou set 
Over them to dispose 
Of tlieir affairs. 

Revile not ye 

Those whom they call upon 
Resides Allah, lest 
They out of spite 
Revile Allah 
In their ignorance. 

Thus have We made 
Alluring to each people^ 1 ’ 
Its own doings. 

In the end will they 
Return to their Lord 
And He shall (hen 
Tell them (lie truth 
Of all that they did. 

They swear their strongest 
Oaths by Allah, that if 
A (special) Sign came 
To them, by i! they would 

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936. A man's actual personal religion depends upon many (flings, -his personal 
psychology, the background of his life* his hidden or repressed feelings, tendencies, or 
history (which psychoanalysis tries to unravel), his hereditary dispositions or antipathies, 
and all the subtle influences of his education and his environment* The task before the 
man of God is: (I) to use any of these which can subserve (he higher ends, (2) to purify 
such as have been misused. (3) lo introduce new ideas and modes of looking at things, 
and (4) to combat what is wrong and cannot be mended: all for the purpose of leading 
to the truth and gradually letting in spiritual light where there was darkness before. If 
that is not done with discretion and the skill of a Teacher, there may be not only a 
reaction of obstinacy, but an unseemly show of dishonour to the true God and Mis Truth, 
and doubts would spread among the weaker brethren whose faith is shallow and infirm. 
What happens to individuals is true collectively of nations or groups of people. They think 
in their self-obsession that their own ideas are right. Allah in His infinite compassion 
hears with them, and asks those who have purer ideas of faith not to vilify the weaknesses 
of their neighbours. lest the neighbours in their turn vilify the real truth and make matters 
even worse than before. In so far as there are mistakes, Allah will forgive and send His 
grace for helping ignorance and folly, tn so far as there is active evil. He will deal with 
il in His own way. Of course the righteous man must not hide Jus light under a bushel, 
or compromise with evil, or refuse to establish right living where he has power to do so. 

^ l/X — yX H«yX 


- 374 - 

S.6 A. 109-111 


Believe. Say: “Certainly 
(All) Signs are in the power 
Of Allah: but what will 
Make you (Muslims) realise 
That (even) if (special) Signs 
Came, they will not believe/ 1 ? 937 


110. We (loo) shall turn 
To (confusion) their hearts' 

A tul their eyes, even as they 
Refused to believe in this 

In the first instance: 

We shall leave them 
In their trespasses, 

To (stumble blindly). 9 ' 9 


111, Even if Wc did send 
Until them angels. 

And the dead did speak 
Unto them, and We gathered 
Together alt things before ^ 
Their very eyes, they are not 

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937. Jf the Unbelievers are merely obstinate, nothing will convince them. There is 
no story more full of miracles than the story of Jesus. Yet in that same story we are 
told that Jesus said: “A wicked adulterous generation seeketh after a sing: and there shall 
no sign be given unto it, hut the sign of the Prophet Jonas'*: Malt. svi. 4. There are 
Signs given by Allah every day-understood by those who believe. A mere insistence upon 
some particular or special Sign means mere contumacy and misunderstanding of the 
religious world. 

938. Where there is sheer obstinacy and ridicule of faith, the result will be that such 
a sinner's heart will be hardened and his eyes will be sealed, so that he cannot even see 
the things visible to ordinary mortals. The sinner gathers impetus in his descent towards 

939. ty. it. 15. Allah's grace is always ready to help human weakness or ignorance, 
and lo accept repentance and give forgiveness. ESui where the sinner is in actual rebellion, 
he will be given rope, and it will be his own fault if he wanders about distractedly, 
without any certain hope or refuge. 

940. The most stupendous miracles even according to their ideas would not have 
convinced them. If the whole pageant of the spiritual world were brought before them, 
they would not have believed, because they -of their own choice and will-refuse 
knowledge anti faith. 

>, T 

- 375 - 



The ones to believe. 

Unless it is in Allah's Plan. 

But most of them 
Ignore (the troth), 

112. Likewise did We make 
Lor every Messenger 
An enemy,- satans** 41 
Among men and Jin ns. 

Inspiring each oilier 
With flowery discourses 
By way of deception. 

If thy Lord had so willed. 

They would not have 
Done it: so leave them 
And what they forge, 

113. To such (deceit) 

Let the hearts of those 
Incline, who have no faith 
In i he Hereafter: and lei them 
Delight in it, and let them 
Earn from it what they may. 1,42 

114. Say: “Shall I seek 

For judge other than Allah?- 
When lie it is 
Who hath sent unto you 
The Book, explained in detail." 

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941. What happened in rite history of the Holy Prophet happens in the history of 
all righteous men who have a Message from Allah. The spirit of evil is ever active and 
uses men to practise deception by means of highly embellished words and plausible 
excuses and objections, Allah permits these things in His Plan. It is not for us to 
complain. Our faith is tested, and we must stand the test steadfastly. 

942. People who have no faith in the future destiny of man listen to and lie taken 
in by the deceit of evil. If they take a delight in it, let them. See what they gain by 
it, Their gains will he as deceitful as their delight. For the end of evil must he evil. 

943. Tire righteous man seeks no other standard of judgment but Allah's Wilt. I tow 
can he, when Allah in His grace has explained His Will in the Qur-fin, with details which 
men of every capacity can understand? t he humblest can learn lessons of right conduct 
in daily life, and the most advanced can find the highest wisdom in its teaching, enriched 
as it is with all kinds of beautiful illustrations from nature and the story of man. 


- 376 - 

S.6 A. 114-119 

J. 8 

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They know full well. 

To whom We have given 
The Book, that it hath been 
Sent down from thy Lord 
In truth. Never be then 
Of those who doubt. 

115. The Word of thy Lord 
Doth find its fulfilment 
In truth and in justice: 

None can change His Words: 
For He is the one Who 
Heareth and knoweth all. 

116. Wert thou to follow 
The common run of those 
On earth, they will lead 
Thee away from the Way 
Of Allah. They follow 
Nothing but conjecture: they 
Do nothing but lie, 

117. Thy Lord knoweth best 
Who strayeth from His Way: 
He knoweth best 
Those who are rightly guided, 

118. So eat of (meats) 

On which Allah's name 
Math been pronounced, 

If ye have faith 
In His Signs. 

119. Why should ye not 
Eat of (meats) on which 
Allah's name hath been 
Pronounced, when He hath 
Explained to you in detail 
What is forbidden to you- 
Except under compulsion* 4 ' 

Of necessity? 

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944. Cf. v. 3. When a clear law has explained whai is Lawful and unlawful in food 
it is wrong to raise fresh scruples and mislead the ignorant. 


*§) - 

- 377 - 

S.6 A.] 19-122 

J. 8 *j±-l 


Bui many do mislead (men) 

By low desires 

Without knowledge. Thy Lord 
Knowcih best those who transgress. 

120. Eschew all sin. 

Open or secret: 

Those who earn sin 
Will get due recompense 
For their “earnings/* 

12 L Eat not of (meats) 

Oji which Allah's name 
Hath n ot be c n p ro it o u nee 1 1 : 

That would be impiety. 

But the satans 
Ever inspire their friends 
To contend with you 
If ye were to obey them. 

Ye would indeed be Pagans. 


122. Can he who was dead/* 45 
To whom We gave life. 

And a Light whereby 
He can walk amongst men. 

Be like him who is 
In the depths of darkness. 

From which he can 
Never come out? 

Thus to those without Faith 
Their own deeds seem pleasing. 

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945. Here is an allegory of the good man with his divine mission and the evil man 
with his mission of evil. The former, before he got his spiritual life, was like one dead. 
Jt was Allah’s grace that gave hint spiritual life, with a Light by which he could walk 
and guide his own footsteps as well as the footsteps of those who are willing to follow 
Allah’s light. The opposite type is that which hates Allah’s light, which lives in the depths 
of darkness, and which plots and burrows against all that is good. But the plots of evil 
recoil on itself, although it thinks that they will hurl the good. Can these two types he 
for a moment compared with each other? Perhaps the lead in every centre of population 
is taken by the men of evil, But (he good men should not be discouraged. They should 
work in righteousness and fulfil their mission. 


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- 378 - 

S.6 A. 123-125 

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123. Thus have We placed 
Leaders in every town, 

Its wicked men, to plot 
(And burrow) therein: 

Hut they only plot 
Against their own souls. 

And they perceive it not, 

124. When there comes to them 
A Sign (from Allah), 

They say; “We shall not 
Believe until we receive 
One (exactly) like those 
Received by Allah's messengers.' 
Allah k no wet It best where 

To Place 

His mission. Soon 
Will the wicked 
Be overtaken by 
Humiliation before Allah, 

And a severe chastisement T 
For all their plots, 

125. Those whom Allah 

Willcth to guide -He opcneth <M7 
Their breast to Islam; 

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*#46, Besides the teaching in Allah's Word, and the leaching in Allah's world, of 
nature and history and human contacts, many Signs come to the Prophets, which they 
humbly receive and understand; and many Signs also come to the ungodly, in the shape 
of warnings or otherwise, which the ungodly either do not heed, or deliberately reject. 
The Signs in the two cases are not the same, and that becomes one of their perverse 
arguments against Faith. But Allah's vwirking will be according to His Will and Plan, and 
not according to the wishes or whims of the ungodly, 

W. Allah's Will is the Qaithd wu Qiutr , which is so much misunderstood. That 
decree is unalterable, and that is His Will. It means that in the spiritual world, as in 
the physical world, there are laws of justice, mercy, grace, penalty, etc., which work as 
surely as anything we know. If, then, a man refuses Faith, becomes a rebel, with each 
step he goes further and further down, and his pace will be accelerated: he will scarcely 
be able to take spiritual breath, and his recovery, -in spite of Allah's mercy which he has 
rejected ,-wi 1 1 he as difficult as if he had to climb up to the skies. On the other hand, 
the godly will find, with each step, the next step easier, Jesus expressed this truth 
paradoxically: "He that hath, to him shall be given; but he that hath not, from him shall 
be taken away even that which he hath 1 *: Mark. iv. 25. 

- 379 - 

5.6 A. 125-128 

J.8 *}ir\ 

Those whom He willcth 
To leave straymg.-He maketh 
Their breast close and constricted. 
As if they had to climb 
Up to the skies: thus 
Doth Allah lay abomination 
On those who refuse to believe. 

This is the Way 
Of thy Lord, leading straight: 

We have detailed the Signs 
For those who 
Receive admonition. 

127, For them will be a Home 
Of Peace with 
Their Lord: He will be 
Their Friend, because 
They practised ( righteous ness). 

128. On the day when He will gather 
Them all together, (and say): 

"O ye assembly of Jinns‘ MS 
Much (loll) did ye take 
Of men/' 949 Their friends 
Amongst men will say: 

“Gur Lord! we made profit 9 * 11 
From each other: but (alas!) 

We readied our term- 
Which Thou didst appoint 
For us." He will say: 

“The Fire be your dwelling-place: 
You will dwell therein for ever. 

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948. vi. 100. n. 929. 

949. Le., you have misled a great number of hum an beings, 

950. It is common experience that the forces of evil make an alliance with each other, 
and seem thus to make a profit by their mutual log-rolling. Hut this is only in this material 
world. When the limited term expires, their unholy bargains will he exposed, and there 
will be nothing but regrets. 

- 380 - 

S,6 A. 128-131 

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Except as Allah willeth 
For thy Lord is full 
Of wisdom and knowledge. 

129. Thus do We make 
The wrong-doers turn 
To each other, because 
Of what they earn. 952 


130. 4i O ye assembly of Jinns 
And men! came there not 
Unto you messengers from 

amongst you. 
Setting forth unto you 
My Signs, and warning you 
Of the meeting of this Day 
Of yours?" They will say: 

"We bear witness against 
Ourselves.” It was 
The life of this world 
That deceived them. So 
Against themselves will they 
Bear witness that they 
Rejected Faith. 

131. (The messengers were sent) thus. 
For thy Lord would not 
Destroy the towns unjustly whilst 
Their occupants were unwarned. 


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951. Eternity and infinity are abstract terms. They have no precise meaning in our 
human experience, 'Hie qualification, “except as Allah willethT makes u more intelligible, 
as we can form some idea-how ever inadequatc-of a Will and Flan, and we know Allah 
by His attribute of Mercy as well as of Justice, 

952. See n. 950 above. Evil consorts with evil because of iheir mutual bargains, Bui 
in doing so they save the righteous from further temptation, 

953. "Messengers from amongst you." This is addressed to the whole gathering of 
men and jinns. 

- 381 - 

S.6 A. 132-135 

J. 8 *>r' 


To all arc degrees (or ranks) 
According to their deeds: 

For thy Lord 
Is not unmindful 
Of anything that they do. 

Thy Lord is Self-sufficient, 955 
Full of Mercy: if it were 
His Will, He could destroy 
You, and in your place 
Appoint whom He will 
As your successors, even as 
He raised you up 
From the posterity 
Of other people. 

134. All that hath been JW 
Promised unto you 
Will come to pass: 

Nor can ye frustrate it 
(In the least bit). 

135. Say: “O my people! 

Do whatever ye can: 457 
I will do (my part): 

Soon will ye know 
Who it is whose end 



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954, On good and evil there are infinite degrees, in our deeds and motives; so will 
there be degrees in our spiritual position. F : or every tiling is known to Allah, better than 
it is to ourselves. 

955, Allah is not dependent on our prayer or service. It is out of His Mercy that 
He desires our own good. Any race or people to whom He gives chances should 
understand and that its failure does not affect Allah. He could create others in their place, 
as He did in times past, and is doing in our own day, if only we had the wit to see it. 

956, Both the good news and the warning which Allah's messengers came to give 
will be fulfilled. Nothing can stop Allah's Will. See n, 947 to vi, 125. 

957, In so far as this is addressed to eIk- Unbelievers it is a challenge: “Do your 
utmost; nothing will deter rue from my duty: we shall see who wins in the end, “Passing 
from the particular occasion, we can understand it in a more general sense, which is true 
for all time. Let the evil ones do their worst Let those who believe do all they can, 
according to their opportunities and abilities. The individual must do the slraight duty that 
lies before him. In the end Allah will judge, and His judgment is always true and just. 

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- 382 - 

S. 6 A. 135-137 

Will be (best) in the Hereafter; 
Certain it is that 

The wrong doers will not prosper/" 

Out of what Allah 

Hath produced in abundance 

In tilth and in cattle. 

They assigned Him a share: 

They say, according to their 

fancies: 958 

“This is for Allah, and this”— 

For Our "partners”! 

But the share of their "partners” 
Reachcth not Allah, whilst 
The share of Allah reacheih 
Their "partners”! Evil 
(And unjust) is their judgment. 

Even so, in the eyes 
Of most of the Pagans, 959 
Their "partners 11 made alluring 
The slaughter of their children. 

In order to lead them 
To their own destruction. 

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95K. There is scathing sarcasm here, which some of the Commentators have missed. 
The Pagans have generally a big Pantheon* though above it they have u vague idea of 
a Supreme Allah. But the material benefits go In the godlings* the fancied “partners" 
of Allah; for they have temples, priests, dedications, etc,, while the true and supreme 
Allah has only lip-worship, or at best a share with numerous "partners/ 1 This was so in 
Arabia also. The shares assigned to the ‘ ’partners" went to the priests and hangers-on 
of the "partners", who were many and clamorous for their rights. The share assigned to 
Allah possibly went to the poor, hut more probably went to the priests who had the cult 
of the "partners", for the Supreme God had no separate priests of Mis own. It is also 
said that when heaps were thus laid out, if any portion of Allah's heap fell into the heaps 
of the “partners" the priests greedily and promptly appropriated it, while tn the contrary 
case, the " partners" priests were careful to reclaim any portion from what they called 
"Allah’s heap." The absurdity of the whole thing is ridiculed. Allah created everything: 
how can He have a share ? 

959, The false gods and idols-among many nations* including the Arabs-were 
supposed to require human sacrifices. Ordinarily such sacrifices are revoking to man. but 
they are made "alluring"-^ sacred rite— by Pagan custom, which falsely arrogates to itself 
the name of religion. Such customs, if allowed* would do nothing but destroy the people 
who practise them, and make their religion but a confused bundle of revolting 

- 383 - 

A. 137-139 J. 8 3 

i _ 

And cause confusion 
In their religion 
If A Huh hud willed. 

They would not have done so: 

But leave alone 

Them and what they forged. 

138. And they say that 

Such and such cattle and crops 9 ** 
Arc forbidden, and none should 
Eat of them except those 
Whom -so they say-Wc 
Wish; further, there are 
Cuttle forbidden to yoke 961 
Or burden, and cattle 
On which, (at slaughter) 

The name of Allah is not 1 * 0 
Pronounced: -forging a lie 
Against Allah's name: soon 
Will He requite them 
For what they forged . 

139, They say: “What is 
In the wombs of 
Such and such cattle 
Is specially reserved 
(For food) for our men. 

And forbidden to our women; 

But if it is still-born. 

Then all have shares therein/* 0 

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961). A taboo of certain foods is sometimes a device of the priesthood to gel special 
things for itscll 1i has to he enforced by pretending that the prohibition for others is 
by the Will of Allah. It is a lie or invention against Allah. Most superstitions arc. 

961. Cattle dedicated to heathen gods may be reserved from all useful work, in that 
ease they are a dead loss to the community, and they may, besides, do a great deal of 
damage lo fields and crops. 

962. If meat is killed in the name of heathen gods, it would naturally not be killed 
by the solemn rite in Allah’s name, by which alone the killing can be justified for food. 
See n. 69K to v, 4. 

963. These are further Pagan superstitions about cattle. Some have already been 
noted in v. 1(13, which may be consulted with the notes. 

% y*& 


- 384 - 

S.6 A. 139-141 



For their (false) attribution 
(Of superstitions to Allah), 

He will soon punish them: 

For He is full 

Of wisdom and knowledge. 

140. Lost are those who stay 
Their children, from folly. 
Without knowledge, and forbid 
Food which Allah hath provided 
For them, forging (lies) 

Against Allah, They have 
Indeed gone astray 

And heeded no guidance. 


141. It is He who produce th^ 
Gardens, with trellises 
And without, and dates. 

And tilth with produce 
Of all kinds, and olives 
And pomegranates. 

Similar (in kind) 

And different (in variety) i'* 5 
Eat of their fruit 
In their season, but render 
The dues that are proper 
On the day that the harvest 
Is gathered. But waste not ,Wl 
By excess: for Allah 
Lovcth not the wasters. 

j i a y -a m 

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i ^ *UL>* 

964. Ansha-a: see vi. 98, n. 923. 

965. A beautiful passage, with music to match the meaning. Cf. vi. 99 and notes. 

966. "Waste not, want not," says the English proverb. Here the same wisdom is 
preached from a higher motive. Sec what magnificent means Allah provides in nature for 
the sustenance of all His creatures, because He loves them all. Enjoy them in moderation 
and he grateful. But commit no excess, and commit no waste: the two things arc the 
same from different angles of vision. If you do, you take away something from other 
creatures and Allah would not like your selfishness. 

- 3 85 * 

j. 8 ^Ull 

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Of the cattle are same 
For burden and some for incut 
Eat what Allah hath provided 
For you, and follow not 
The footsteps of Satan: 

For he is to you 
An avowed enemy. 

(Take) eight (head of cattle)*" 

In (four) pairs: 

Of sheep a pair; 

And of goats a pair. 

Say, hath He forbidden 
The two males, 

Or the two females. 

Or (the young) which the wombs 
Of the two females enclose? 

Tell me with knowledge 
If ye are truthful: 

Of camels a pair, 

And of oxen a pair; 

Say, hath He forbidden 
The two males, 

Or the two females, 

Or (the young) which the wombs 
Of the two females enclose ?- 
Were ye present when Allah 
Ordered you such a thing? 

But who doth more wrong 
rhan one who invents 
A lie against Allah, 

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%7, Superstition kills true religion. We come back to the Arab Pagan superstitions 
about cattle fur food. The horse is not mentioned, because horse flesh was not an article 
of diet and there were no superstitions about it. Sheep and goats, camels and oxen were 
the usual sources of meal. Sheep and goats were not used as beasts of burden, but camels 
(of both sexes) were used for carrying burdens, and oxen for the plough, though cows 
were mainly used fur milk and meat. The words “some for burden and some for meat'' 
do not differentiate whole species, except dial they give you the first two and the last 
(wo as categories. 

968. The superstitions referred to in vi. 139 and v, 103, are further ridiculed in this 
verse and the next. 

- 386 - 

S.6 A. 144- 146 

To lead astray men 
W itliout k n o w I e d go ? 

For Allah guide th not 
People who do wrong. 


Say: ‘i find not 
In the Message received 
By me by inspiration 
Any (meat) forbidden 
To be eaten by one 
Who wishes to eat it, 

Unless it be dead meat. 

Or blood poured forth, 969 
Or the flesh of swine, - 
For it is an abominatton- 
C)r what is impious, (meat) 
On which a name has been 
Invoked, other than Allah's." 
But (even so), if a person 
Is forced by necessity. 
Without wilful disobedience. 
Nor transgressing due limits,” 
I hy Lord is Oft- forgiving. 
Most Merciful. 

Far those who followed 
The Jewish Law, We forbade 
Every (animal) with 
Undivided hooC " 

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UfW. poured forth: as distinguished bum hlood adhering to flesh, or the liver, 

or such other internal organs purifying the blood. 

971J. Zufur may mean daw or hoof; it is in the singular number; but as no animal 
has a single claw, and there is no point in a division of claws, we must look to a hoof 
for the correct interpretation. In the Jewish Law (Leviticus, xi. 3-6), ‘whatsoever partelh 
the hoof, and is cl oven -footed, and chcwcth the cud, among the beasts" was lawful as 
food, but the camel, the coney (rabbit), and tile hare were not lawful, because they do 
not "divide the hoof', "Undivided hoot' therefore is the correct interpretation. These 
three animals, unlawful to the Jews, are lawful in Islam. CL iv. 160. 

- 387 - 

A. 146-148 

J. 8 ‘j+' 

And We forbade l hem 
The fat of the ox 471 
And the sheep, except 
What adheres to their backs 
Or their entrails. 

Or is mixed up 
With a bone: 

Tli is in recompense 
For their wilful disobedience: 
For We are True 
(In Our ordinances). 

147. If they accuse thee 
Of falsehood, say: 

“Your Lord is full 
Of mercy all-embracing; 

But front people tn guilt 
Never will His wrath 
Be turned back. 

148 .Those who give partners 
(To Allah) will say: 

“If Allah had wished. 

Wc should not have 
Given partners to Him. 

Nor would our fathers: 

Nor should we have had y7: 
Any forbidden thing V So did 
Their ancestors argue 
Falsely, until they lasted 
Of Our wrath. Say: 

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97 1 In Leviticus (vii 23) it is laid down that "ye shall cal no manner of fat, of ox, 
or of sheep, or of goat." As regards the exceptions, it is to be noticed that pricsis were 
enjoined (Leviiicus, vii. 6) to eat of the fat in the trespass offering, which was considered 
holy, Wj. t "the ramp" (back and hone) "and (he fat that covereth the inwards" (entrails), 
(Leviticus, vii. 3). 

972, As used by the Pagans, the argument is false, for it implies (a) that men have 
no personal responsibility, (b) that they are the victims of a Determinism against which 
they are helpless, and (c) that they might therefore go on doing jusl what they liked. 
It is also inconsistent, for if (b) is true, (c) cannot he true. Nor is it meant to he taken 

* 388 - 

S.6 A, 148-15! 

J. 8 

“ Have ye any (certain) 

Knowledge? If so, produce 
1 1 before us. Ye follow 
Nothing but conjecture ; 

Ye do nothing but lie," 

J. Say: “With Allah is the argument ' 1 
That reaches home: if it had 
Been His Will, He could 
Indeed have guided you all/' 

150, Say: "Bring forward your witnesses 
To prove that Allah did 
Forbid so and so," If they 
Bring such witnesses. 

Be not thou amongst them: 1,74 
Nor follow thou the vain 
Desires of such as treat 
Our Signs as falsehoods, 

Arid Such as believe not 
In the Hereafter: for they 
Hold others as equal 
With their Guardian Lord. y,s 


151 Say: “Come, 1 will rehearse 
What Allah hath (really) 976 
Prohibited you from": join not 
Anything with Him: 

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973, On the other ham!, the argument cuts true and deep, as from Allah to His 
creatures. Allah is Omnipotent, and can do all that we can conceive. But He, in His 
Wisdom, has given man some responsibility, and some choice in order to train man’s will. 

If man fails, he is helped in various ways by Allah’s mercy and grace. But man cannot 
go on sinning, and in a state of sin, expect Allah to be pleased with him (vi, 147), 

974. The Pagan superstitions were of course b useless, and in many cases harmful and 

debasing. If Allah's name was taken as supporting them, no true man of God could he m 

taken in, or join in support simply because Allah's name was taken in vain, 

975. C/, vi, I, Allah, who created and who cherishes and cares for all, should have 
the first claim on our attention. Those who set up false gods fail to understand Allah's 
i rue governance or their own true destiny. 

976, Instead of following Pagan superstitions, and being in constant terror of 
imaginary taboos and prohibitions, we should study the true moral law, whose sanction = 

- 389 - 


Be good to your parents; 

Kill not your children 
On a plea of want;-We 
Provide sustenance for you 
And for thcm;-come not 
Nigh to indecent deeds, 

Whether open or secret; 

Take not life, which Allah 
Hath made sacred, except 
By way of justice and law:' 1 
Thus doth He command you. 
That ye may learn wisdom. 

152. And conic not nigh 

To the orphan's properly, 

Except to improve it. 

Until he attain the age 
Of full strenghf; give measure 
And weight with (full) justice;- 
No burden do We place 
On any soul, but that 
Which it can hear;- 
Whenever ye speak, speak justly. 
Even if a near relative 
Is concerned; and fulfil 



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is Allah's Law. The first stop is that we should recognise that He is the One and Only 
Lord and Chcrishcr. [lie mention of goodness to parents immediately afterwards suggests: (1) that 
Allah's love of us and care for us may-on an infinitely higher phme-be understood by 
our ideal of parental love, which is purely unselfish: (2) that our first duty among our 
fellow creatures is to our father and mother, whose love leads us to the conception of 
divine love. Arising from that is the conception of our converse duties to our children, 
Allah provides sustenance (material and spiritual) not only for us, but for them: hence 
any custom like the Pagan custom of sacrificing children to Moloch stands condemned. 
Then come the moral prohibitions against lewdness and all unseemly acts, relating to sex 
or otherwise, open or secret. This is followed by the prohibition of killing. All these 
things are conformable to our own interests, and therefore true wisdom from our own 
point of view, 

977. For the comprehensive word haqq l have used the two words 1 ‘justice and law": 
other significations implied are: right, truth, what is becoming, etc. h is not only that 
human life is sacred, hut alt life is sacred. Even in killing animals for food, a dedicatory 
formula “in the name of Allah" has to be employed, to make it lawful: sec n. 698 to 
v. 4, and n. 962 to vi. 08. 

- 390 - 


The Covenant of Allah:' s 
Thus doth He command you, 
That yc may remember. 

153. Verily, this is My Way 
Leading straight: follow it: 
Follow not (other) paths: 
They will scatter you about 
From His Path: 

Thus doth He command you. 
That ye may he righteous. w 

154. Moreover, We gave Moses 
The Hook, completing 
(Our favour) to those 
Who would do right. 

And explaining all things^ 0 
In detail, -and a guide 
And a mercy, that they 
Might believe in the meeting 
With their Lord 


155. And this is a Book 
Which We have revealed 
As a blessing: so follow it 
And be righteous, that ye 
May receive mercy: 

> :> * ^ Tm ^\A 


978. C/. V. I, and n. 682. 

979. Note again the triple refrain with variations, in vi, 151, 152, and 153. In verse 
151, wc have the moral law, which it is for our own good to follow: “Thus doth He 
command you, that ye may learn wisdom/' In verse 152, we have lo deal justly and 
rightly with others; we are apt to think loo much of ourselves and forget others: Thus 
doth He command you, that yc may remember.” In verse 153 our attention is called to 
the Straight Way, I he Way of Allah, the only Way that leads (o righteousness: ‘Thus 
doth He command you, that ye may be righteous/’ 

980. The revelation to Moses went into the details of people’s lives, and thus served 
as a practical guide to the Jews and after them to the Christians. Admittedly the Message 
delivered by C hrist dealt with general principles only and in no way with details. The 
message of Islam as in the Qur an is the next complete guide in point of time after that 
of Moses, 

- 391 - 

S. 6 A. 156-158 

fU;M' hr 

Lest yc should say; 

“The Hook was sent down 
To two Peoples before us, 

And for our part, we 
Remained unacquainted** 1 
With all that they learned 
By assiduous study;” 

Or lest ye should say: 

“H the Book had only 
Been sent down to us. 

We should have followed 
Its guidance better than they/* 
Now then hath come 
Unto you a Clear (Sign) 1 *' 

From your Lord, -and a guide 
And a mercy: then who 
Could do mure wrong 
Than one who rejected] 

Allah's Signs, and turncth 
Away therefrom? In good lime 
Shall We requite those 
Who turn away from Our Signs, 
With a dreadful chastisement 
F’or their turning away. 

Arc they waiting to see 
If the angels come to them. 

Or thy Lord (Himself), 

Or certain of the Signs 
Of thy Lord! 

The day that certain 
Of the Signs of the Lord 
Do come, no good 

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981, Because the diligent studies of the earlier People of the Hook were m languages 
foreign to the new People of Islam, or because they were meant for circumstances 
different from those of the new world after Islam, 

982. The Qur-an and ihe life and the teaching of Muhammad the Messenger of 

- 392 * 

S. 6 A. 158-160 J.8 ‘r’H 



Will it do to n soul^ 3 
To believe then. 

If it believed not before 
Nor earned righteousness 
Through its Faith, Say: 

"Wait ye: we too 
Are waiting'/** 

159, As for those who divide' 
Their religion and break up 
Into sects, thou hast 

No part in them in the least: 
Their affair is with Allah: 

He will in the end 
Tell them the truth 
Of all that they did, 

160. He that doeth good 
Shall have ten times 
As much to his credit: 

He that doeth evil 

Shall only be recompensed 
According to liis evil: %6 
No wrong shall he done 
Unto them. 

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imp i 

983. There is no merit in faith in things that you are compelled to acknowledge when 
they actually happen. Faith is belief in things which you do not see whh your eyes but 
you understand with your intellect if your whole will consents to it, it results in deeds 
of righteousness, which are the evidence of your faith 

984. The waiting in the two cases is in quite different senses: the foolish man without 
faith is waiting for things which will not happen, and is surprised by the real things which 
do happen; the righteous man of faith is waiting for the fruits of righteous ness, of which 
he has an assured hope. 

985. Divide their religion: farraqu: t.e.. (1) make a distinction between one part of 
it and another, take the part which suits them and reject the rest: or {2) have religion 
one day of the week and the world the rest of the six days: or (3) keep "religion in 
its right place," as if it did not claim to govern the whole life: make a sharp distinction 
between the secular and the religious, or (4) show a sectarian bias, seek differences in 
views, so as to break up the unity of Islam. 

986. Allah is just as well as generous. To the good the reward is multiplied ten times 
(re., far above merits) on account of His generosity. To the evil, the punishment is no 
more than commensurate with their sin, and even so the door of mercy is always open 
to those who sincerely repent and show it by their conduct. 

f: "■ ~ ' : 

- 393 - 

S.6 A. 161-164 



161. Say: “Verily, my Lord 
[ lath guided me to 

A Way that is straight,— 

A religion of right,— 

The Path (trod) by Abraham 
The true in faith, 

And lie (certainly) 

Joined not gods with Allah." 

162. Say: “Truly, my prayer 
And my service of sacrifice. 
My life and my death. 

Are (all) for Allah, 

The Cherisher of the Worlds: 

163. No partner hath l le: 

This am 1 commanded. 

And l am the first 

Of those who submit 
To His Will 

164. Say: “Shall 1 seek 
For (my) Lord 
Other than Allah. 

When He is the Cherisher 
Of all things (that exist)? 
Every soul draws the meed 
Of its acts on none'** 

But itself: no bearer 
Of burdens can bear 
The burden of another. 

Your return in the end 
Is towards Allah: He will tell 
You the truth of the things 
Wherein ye disputed." 


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987. The doctrine of personal responsibility again. We are fully responsible for our 
acts oursevjes: we cannot transfer the consequences of someone else. Nor can any one 
vicariously atone for our sins. If people have honest doubts or differences about important 
questions of religion, they should not start futile disputes. All will he clear in the end. 
Our duty here is to maintain unity and discipline, and do the duty that comes to us. 

£ ' ■■■ ■ ' ■■ ■ ■■ ' ■" - T 

- 394 - 



•jr - 

1 1 is He Who hath made 
You the inheritors'** 

Of the earth: lie hath raised 
You in rn nks T some above 
Others: that He may try you 
In the gifts He hath given you: 
For thy Lord is quick 
In punishment: yet He 
Is indeed Oft-forgiving 
Most Merciful. 

pt,'f < *> *K Y\'> * 

Jijpj J 

9H8. C/ 1 ii. 30 and n.* where I have translated "Khalifa" as “Vicegerent'*, it being 
Allah s PJan to make Adam (as representing mankind) vicegerent on earth. Another idea 
implied in ^haltfa is that of “successor* heir* or inheritor*** /.<*►, one who has the 
ultimate ownership after the present possessors* to whom a life -tenancy has been given 
by the owner* have passed away. In xv, 23 occurs the striking word "heirs" (wmthun) 
as applied to Allah: “We give life and death, and We arc the Heirs (or Inheritors)/* 
The same idea occurs in Hi. 180. where see n, 485. 

- 395 - 

to S.7 


This Sura is closely connected, both chronologically and in respect of the 
argument^ with the previous Sura. But it expounds the doctrine of revelation 
and man's religious history by illustrations from Adam onwards, through various 
Prophets, and the details of Moses's struggles, to the time of the Prophet 
Muhammad, in whom Allah's revelation is completed. 

Siwh wiry, -The note, learn from the past A is struck from the very 
beginning. The oposition of Evil to Good is illustrated by the story of Adam 
and Iblis. Arrogance leads to rebellion; the rebel is jealous and tempts the 
natural man, who is warned against deceit and all excess (vii. 1-31). 

If the warning is not heeded, the future penalties are indicated, while the 
privileges and the bliss and peace of the righteous are shown in a picture of 
the Hereafter, as well as in the power and goodness of Allah in the world that 
we sec around us (vii. 32-58. 

The story of Noah and the Flood, and the stories of Hud, Salih, Lot, and 
Shu'aib, all point to the lesson l hat the Prophets were resisted and rejected, 
hut truth triumphed in the end, and evil was humbled, for Allah's Plan never 
fails (vii. 59-99). 

The story of Moses is told in greater detail, not only in his struggles with 
Pharaoh, hut in his preparation for his mission, and his struggles with his own 
rebellious people. Even from the time of Moses the coming of the unlettered 
Prophet was foreshadowed (vii. 100-157), 

But the people of Moses frequently lapsed from Allah’s Law as 
promulgated to them, and transgressed Allah's Covenant, and they were 
scattered through the earth in sections (vii. 158-171). 

The children of Adam have multiplied, but many of them have rejected 
truth and go by degrees to destruction in ways that they do not realise. The 
reighteous listen lo the Message of Allah, and serve Him in humility (vii. 172- 

- 396 - 


Juz‘ 8 *jJLl 


Al-A'raf. or The Heights. 

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, 
Most Merciful. 

1. Alif. Lam, MTm. Sad.*” 

2. A Book revealed unio thce,- 
So let thy heart be oppressed 441 " 

No more by any difficulty 

On that account t - 
That with it thou mightest 
Warn (the erring) and a reminder to 
The Believers. 

3. Follow (O men!) the revelation 
Given unto you from your Lord* 
And follow not. as friends 

Or protectors, other than Him. 
Little it is ye remember 
Of admonition. 991 



989, This is a combination of four Abbreviated Letters. For Abbreviated Letters 
generally, see Appendix I (at the end of Sura lit. The combination here includes the 
three letters A.L.SL. which occurred at the beginning of Sura II. and are discussed in 
n. 25 to ii. I. 

The additional letter Sad occurs in combination here and in Sura xix, and by itself 
at the beginning of S xxxvnt. and nowhere else The factor common to S. vii. S. xix. 
and S. xxxviit, is that in each case the core of the Sura consists in the stories (qisas) 
of ihc Prophets. In this Sura we have the stories of Noah, Hud, Salih, Lot, SluTaib, and 
Moses, leading up to Muhammad, and in S, xxxviii, the stories of David Solomon, and 
Job similarly lead up to Muhammad, occupying three out of the five sections. Sura xix 
consists almost entirely of such stories. In this Sura vii, we have the religious history of 
mankind iruccd-thc Beginning the Middle, and the End 

99(1 Heart: in ihe original, breast, I have used the word most appropriate to the 
English idiom The meaning is that Al- Mustafa is consoled for all the difficulties which 
he encountered in his mission, with the fact that he had dear guidance in the Book for 
his preaching, 

991. Hi is is added in order that men aught not be puffed up with such little 
knowledge as they possessed, for there are great heights to be scaled in the spiritual 

- 397 - 

S.7 A.4 

J. 8 

'T aAf. iA# sAj 


How many towns have We 
Destroyed (for their sins)? 

Our punishment took them 
On a sudden by night 
Or while they slept 
For their afternoon rest. 

When (thus) Our punishment 
Took them* no cry 
Did they utter but this: 

■ Indeed we did wrong/’**' 2 

Then shall we question 
Those to whom Our Message 
Was sent and those by whom” 1 
We sent it. 

And verily. We shall recount 

Their whole story 

With knowledge* for We 

Were never absent 

(At any time or place J.^ 4 

The balance that day 
Will be true (to a nicety): 

Those whose scale (of good) 
Will be heavy* wall prosper: 

Those whose scale will be light. 
Will find their souls 

Alii i 

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992. llus religious story of man begins with a prelude. Think of tfte towns and 
nations ruined by the it iniquity. Allah gave them many opportunities* arid sent them 
wurners and teachers, But they arrogantly went on in their evil ways, till some dreadful 
calamity came and wiped out their traces. In a warm climate the disturbance ia the heat 
of the midday rest is even more than the disturbance at night. It was when the catastrophe 
came that the people realised their sins, hut it was too hue, 

9W, In the final reckoning. Ihc Warners and teachers will give evidence of their 
preaching the truth, and the wicked will themselves have to acknowledge the truth. We 
picture it like a court scene, when the story is related, but the Judge knows all, even 
more than the parties can tell 

994. Allah (being all -knowing) is never absent from any place or at any time, lor 
Time and Place are relative conceptions for our limited natures, while He is the Absolute, 
independent of such relative conceptions. 

- 398 - 

$.7 A, 9- 12 

I M - MU , .J L 

V *—51 

In perdition , for that they 
Wrongfully treated Our Signs. 

10, It is We Who have 
Placed you with authority 
On earth, and provided 
You therein with means 
For the fulfilment of your life: 
Small are the thanks 
That ye give! 


11, It is Wc Who created you 
And gave you shape:*** 

Then We bade the angels 
Prostrate to Adam, and they 
Prostrated, not so Iblis: 

He refused to be of those" 

Who prostrate. 

12, (Allah) said: “What prevented 
Thee from prostrating 
When I commanded thee?" 

He said: "I am better 
Than he: Thou didst create 
Me from fire, and him from clay' 1 * 


1 ; 

ij r '4 

995. Thai is. all the material things which arc necessary to sustain, beautify* and 
refine life, as well as all those powers, faculties, and opportunities which are instrumental 
in bringing up life to a higher plane and preparing man for tns high destiny. 

996. 1 1 was aficr Adam (as standing for all mankind) had been so taught that the 
angels were asked to prostrate to him. lor. hv Allah's grace, his status had actually been 
raised higher. Note the transition from “you" (plural) in the first clause to "Adam" in the 
second clause: Adam and mankind are synonymous: the plural is reverted to in viL 14, 

997. Iblis not only refused to bow down: he refused to he of those who prostrated. 
In other words he arrogantly despised the angels who prostrated as well as man to whom 
they prostrated and he was in rebellion against Allah for not obeying His order, 
Arrogance, jealousy, and rebellion were his triple crime. 

998. Notice the subtle wiles of Iblis: his egotism in putting himself above man, and 
his falsehood in ignoring the fact that Allah had not merely made man's body from clay, 
but had given him spiritual form,- in other words, had taught him the nature of things 
and raised him above the angels. 


399 - 


13. (Allah) said; "Gel thee down 
From \l: m it is not 

For thee to be arrogant 
Here: get out, for thou 
Art of the meanest (of creatures). 

14. He said: "Give me respite 
Till the day they arc 
Raised up.” 

15. (Allah) said: "He thou 
Among those who have respite 

16. He said: "Because thou 
Hast thrown me out 100 * 

(Of the Way), lol I will 
Lie in wait for them 
On Thy Straight Way: 

17. 'Then will I assault them 

From before them and behind them. 
From their right and their left: 

Nor wilt Thou find. 

In most of them. 

Gratitude (for Thv mercies), " lllC 

18. (Allah) said: "Get out 
From this, despised 


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999. The incident marks the externment of lblfs from the Garden owing lo his 
rebelliousness born of arrogance. 

lim Are there others under respite? Yes, Ihlis has a large army of wicked seducers, 
and those men who are their dupes. For though degradation lakes effect at once, its 
appearance may he long delayed* 

I(X)1. Another instance of lblis‘s subtlety and falsehood. He waits till he gets the 
respite. Then he breaks out into a lie and impertinent defiance. The lie is m suggesting 
that Allah had thrown him out of the Way. in other words misled him: whereas his own 
conduct was responsible for his degradation. The defiance is in his setting snares on the 
Straight Way lo which Allah directs men, 

IUG2. The assault of evil is from all sides. It takes advantage of every weak point, 
and sometimes even our good and generous sympathies are used to decoy us into the 
snares of evil. Man has every reason to be grateful to Allah for all His loving care and 
yet man in his folly forgets his gratitude and does the very' opposite of what he should do. 

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* 400 - 

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And expelled. If any 
Of them follow thee - 
Hell will 1 fill 
With you all. 

| 19. O Adam! dwell thou 11113 

And thy wife in the Garden. 
And enjoy lim (its good things) 
As ye wish: hut approach not 
This tree, lest you become of 
The unjust," 

-CjJ i viUjuj cJ 

| 20. Then began Satan m]i to whisper 
Suggestions to them, 

In order to reveal to them 
Their shame 11106 
That was hidden from them 
(Before): he said: “Your Lord 
Only forbade you this tree. 

Lest ye should become angels 
Or such beings as live for ever," 

21, And he swore to them 
Both, that he was 
Their sincere adviser. 

22, So by deceit he brought about 
Their fall: when they 
Tasted of the tree. 

1003, Now the story turns to man. lie was placed in the Garden of comfort and bliss, 
but it was Allah's Plan to give him a limited faculty of choice. All that he was forbidden 
to do was to approach the 1'ree, but he succumbed to .Satan's suggestions. 

10(14. Enjoy: literally, “eat.” Cf. the meaning of ta*ama in vi, 14, n 847 and ukata 
in v. 66, n. 776. 

1005, The transition from the name “tbits” to the name “Satan” is similar to that 
in ii, 36, where it is explained in n, 52. 

1006, Our first parents as created by Allah (and this applies to all of us) were 
innocent in matters material as well as spiritual. They knew no evil. But the faculty of 
choice, which was given to them and which raised them above the angels, also implied 
that they had the capacity of evil, which by the training of their own will, they were to 
reject. They were warned of the danger. When they fell, they realised the evil. They were 
(and we are) still given the chance, in this life on a lower plane, to make good and 
recover the lost status of innocence and bliss. 

- 401 - 

S.7 A. 22-26 

J.8 j-bl 

Their shameful p;iris became manifest 
To them, and they began 
To sew together the leaves 
Of the Garden over their bodies. 
And their Lord called 
Unto them: “Did I not 
Forbid you that tree, 

And tell you that Satan 
Was an avowed 
Enemy unto you?” 

23. They said: “Our Lord 

We have wronged our own souls: 

If Thou forgive us nol 
And bestow not upon us 
Thy Mercy, we shall 
Certainly be lost. 

24. (Allah) said: “Gel ye down, 

With enmity between yourselves. 

On earth will be your dwelling-place 
And your means of livcIihocxL- 
For a time.” 

25. He said: ‘'Therein shall ye 
Live, and therein shah ye 
Die: but from it shall ye 
Be taken out (at Uist). ,flm7 


26. O ye Children of Adam! 

We have bestowed raiment 1 '** 



1007. Cf. this whole passage about Adam with the passage in ii. 30-39, and with 
other passages in subsequent Suras. In places the words are precisely the same, and yet 
the whole argument is different. In each ease it exactly fits the context. In S, ii, the 
argument was about the origin of man. Here the argument is a prelude to his history 
on earth, and so it continues logically in the next section to address the Children of 
Adam, and goes on afterwards with the story of the various prophets that came to guide 
mankind. Truth is one, hut its apt presentment in words shows a different facet in 
different contexts. 

1006. The body: is pure and beautiful, as long as it is not defiled by misuse: its 
clothing and ornaments may be good or meretricious, according to the motives in the ^ 



- 402 - 

S.7 A.2f>-28 

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Upon you to cover 
Your shame, as well as 
To be an adornment to you, 

But the raiment of righteousness- 

That is the bcsL 

Such are among the Signs 

Of Allah, that they 

May receive admonition' 

27. O ye Children of Adam! 

Let not Satan seduce you. 

In the same manner as lffN 
He got your parents out 

Of the Garden, stripping them 
Of their raiment, to expose 
Their shame: for he 
And his tribe see you 
From a position where ye 
Cannot see them: We made 
The Satans friends 
(Only) to those without Faith, 

28. When they commit an 

Indecency, they say: 

“We found our fathers 
Doing so"; and "Allah 
Commanded us thus": 

Say: “Nay, Allah never 
Command what is Indecent: 

Do ye say of Allah 

What ye know not? 

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mind and character: if good, they are the symbols of purity and beauty: but the best 
clothing and ornament we could have comes from righteousness, which covers the 
nakedness of sin, and adorns us with virtues. 

100M, That is, by fraud and deceit, -by putting you off your guard and Idling lies. 
Adam's story here becomes an introduction to the later religious history of mankind: viL 
20-22. In the Garden, Satan's deceit stripped off their raiment of honour and innocence. 
In this life on a lower plane he seeks to strip us of the raiment of righteousness , And 
he can take up positions on a vantage ground of worldly power or influence or riches, 
in which he and his confederates are not seen in their true colours. They may assume 
a fair-seeming disguise of disinterested friendship or high motives of patriotism or public 
spirit, or loyalty to ancestors, when beneath it there is nothing but spite and selfishness. 

- 403 - 

S, 7 A. 29-31 

J. 8 ^CUl ijJLl 

V *-il oj_j— 

29. Say: "My Lord hath commanded 
Justice: and that ye set 

Your whole selves (to Him) * 1 

At every time and place 
Of prayer, and call upon 11 tin. 
Making your devotion sincere 
Such as He created you 1011 
hi the beginning* so 
Shall ye return.” 

30. Some He hath guided: 

Others have 

Deserved the loss of their way: 
In that they took 
The Sat a ns in preference 
To Allah, for their friends 
And protectors, and think 
That they receive guidance. 


31, O Children of Adam! 

Wear your beautiful apparel 


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101 0. For i vajh, see iL 1 12 and it. U4. Our devotion should he sincere, not as in 
other men's sight, but by presenting our whole selves, heart and soul, to Allah. Even 
so. n may not he enough; for the sight of our heart and soul may he faulty We should 
call upon Allah to give us the lighi. by which our sincerity may commend itself to Hint 
as true sincerity "as in His sight V 

I (111. Cf. vi. 94. Our sincerity should he real sincerity, as in His sight for when we 
return to Him, we shall be snipped of all pretence, even such self-deception as may satisfy 
us in this life. 

1012. Guidance is for all. Bur in some it takes effect: in others the doors are closed 
against it, because they have taken Satan for their friend, If they have lost their way, 
they have richly deserved it; for they deliberately look their choice, even though, in their 
self-righteousness, they may think that their sin is their virtue, and (hat their Evil is their 

HI13. Beautiful apparel: zimit: adornments or apparel for beautiful living: construed 
to mean not only clothes that add grace to the wearer, but toilet and cleanliness, attention 
to hair, and other small personal details which no self-respecting man or woman ought 
lo neglect when going solemnly even before a great human dignitary, if only out of 
respect for the dignity of the occasion. How much more impo riant it is to attend to these 
details when we solcmnv apply our minds to the Presence of Allah. But (he caution 
against excess applies: men must not go to prayer in silks or ornaments appropriate to 
women. Similary sober food, good and wholesome, is not to be divorced from offices of 
religion: only the caution against excess applies strictly, A dirty, unkempt, slovenly Faqir 
could not claim sanctity in Nam. 

■ 404 - 



At every time and place 
Of prayer: eat and drink: 

But waste not by excess, 

For Allah loveth not the wasters 


Say: Who hath forbidden 
The beautiful (gifts) of Allah. 10,4 
Which He hath produced 
For His servants. 

And the things, clean and pure, 
(Which He hath provided) 

For sustenance? 

Say: They are. in the life 
Of this world, for those 
Who believe, (and) purely 101 s 
For them on the Pay 
Of Judgment. Thus do We 
Explain the Signs in detail 
For those who know. 

Say: The things that my Lord 
Hath indeed forbidden are:’" 1 ' 1 
Indecent deeds, whether open 
Or secret: sins and trespasses 

1UM. Asceticism often means the negation of art and beauty, it has no necessary 
sanctity attached to it. 

1015. The beautiful and good things of life are really meant lor, and should be the 
privilege of those with faith in Allah. II they do not always have them in this life, and 
if there is sometimes the semblance of others having them who do not deserve them, let 
us remember that this is a lest from Allah, In die life to come they will be purely for 
the faithful. 

1016. The forbidden things are described in four categories: (l) what is shameful or 
unbecoming; the sort of things which have also legal and social sanctions, not of a local 
hut of a universal kind; they may be called offences against society: (2) sins against self 
and trespasses or excesses of every sort; these arc against truth and reason; here would 
come in indiscipline, failure in doing intangible duties not dearly defined by taw; 
selfishness or self-aggrandisement, which may be condoned by custom and no! punished 
by law, etc,: (3) erecting fetishes or false gods; this is treason against the true God; and 
(4) corrupting religion by debasing superstitions, etc. 

- 405 - 

S.7 A. 33-37 

J, 8 ,yliJI »jjLl 




37 , 

Against truth or reason; assigning 
Of partners to Allah, for which 
He hath given no authority; 

And saying things about Allah 
Of which ye have no knowledge. 

To every People is a term. 1 " 1 
Appointed: when their term 
Is reached, not an hour 
Can they cause delay. 

Nor (an hour) can they 
Advance {it in anticipation). 

O )c Children of Adam! 
Whenever there come to you 
Messengers from amongst you. 
Rehearsing My Signs unto you.- 
Those who are righteous 
And mend (their lives).— 

On them shall be no fear 
Nor shall they grieve. 

But those who reject 
Our Signs and treat them 
With arrogance, -they 
Are Companions of the Fire, 

To dwell therein (for ever). 

Who is more unjust 
111 an one who forges 
A lie against Allah 
Or rejects His Signs? 

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1017. People: 1 do not know whether "generation” would not be more 

appropriate here. If so, it would refer to the Time-Spirit, for it affects a whole number 
of people living contemporaneously, and while we deal grammatically with a group, wc 
really have in mind the individuals composing the group. Anyway, the lesson is what is 
suggested in the following verses. There is only a limited time for an individual or for 
a group of people. If they do not make gotnl during dim time of probation „ the chance 
is tost, and tt cannot come again. We cannot retard or advance the march of time by 
a single hour or minute, ("Hour" in the text expresses an indefinite but short period of 


- 406 - 

S.7 A. 37-38 

J> 8 *ji| 

For such* their portion Hm 
Appointed must reach them 
From the Book (of Decrees): 
Until, when Our messengers 
(Of death) arrive and lake 
Their souls, they say: 

“Where are the things 
That ye used to invoke 
Besides Allah?” 

They will reply, “They 
Have left us in the lurch, " 
And they will hear witness 
Against themselves, that they 
Had rejected Allah. 

He will say: “Enter ye 
in the company of 
The Peoples who passed away 
Before you-men and Jirms,- 
ifito the Fire, Every time 
A new People enters. 

It curses its sister-Pcople 
(That went before), until 
They follow each other, all 
into the Fire, 

Saith the last 

About the first: “Our Lord! 

It is these that misled us: 

So give them a double 
Punishment in the Fire.” 

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ID IK. It must not he supposed that the rebels against Allah would at once be cut 
off in this life for their sins, They will get the portion allotted to them, including the 
good things of life and the chance of repentance and reformation* during their 
probationary period on this earth. During that period they will have a full run. After that 
period expires, they will be called to account They will themselves see that the false 
things , in which they put their trust, were false, and they will confess their sin, but it 
will be too late. 

- 407 - 


J. K *jJL| 


V flj v- 

He will say: “Doubled 101 '' 

For all”; but this 

Ye do not know. 

39, Then the first will say 
To the last: “See then! 

No advantage have ye 
Over us: so taste ye 

Of the Chastisement for all 
Thai yc did!" 1,01 

seen ON 5. 

40, To those who reject 

Our Signs and treat them 
With arrogance, no opening 
Will there be of the gates 
Of heaven, nor will they 
Enter the Garden, until 
“Oie camel can pass 
Through the eye of the needle: 
Such is Our reward 
For those in sin. 

41, For them there is 
Hell, as a couch 

(Below) and folds and folds 

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HIIV, The earlier generations committed a double crime: (I) their own sins, (2) the 
had example they set for those that followed. We are responsible not only for our own 
misdeeds, hut for those winch our example and our teaching to out juniors may induce 
them to commit. But ii does not lie in die mouth of the juniors in ask for a double 
punishment for seniors: the motive is not justice, but pure spite, which is itself a sin. 
l urthcr. the later generations have to answer for two things: (t) their own sins, and (2) 
their failure to learn from the past, from the experiences of those who preceded them. 
They should have an advantage in this respect t being "in the foremost files of Time," 
but they did nol learn, Ihus there was nothing to choose between the earlier and later 
generations in the matter of guilt But how few people understand this? 

In vi. 160, we were told that good was rewarded tenfold, but evil was punished 
according to its guilt, in perfect justice. This verse is in no way inconsistent with it, Two 
crimes must have a double penalty, 

HOI. Wrong' doers have really no sense of honour towards each other. "Honour 
among thieves" is an exceptional, riot an ordinary, experience, hi real life, guilt and crime 
are apt to indulge in mean spite and hitter recriminations against accomplices. 

- 408 - 

S.7 A. 41*43 



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Of covering above: such 
Is Our requital of ihose 
Who do wrong. 

It u i those who believe 
And work righteousness,- 
No burden do We place 
On any soul, but thill 
Which ti can bear*- 
They will be Companions 
Of the Garden, therein 
To dwell (for ever). 

And We shall remove 
From their hearts arw 
Rancour; 11121 
Beneath them will be 
Rivers flowing: -and they 
Shall say: "Praise be to Allah, 
Who hath guided us 
To this (felicity): never 
Could we have found 
Guidance, had it not been 
For the guidance of Allah: 

Indeed ii was 1 lie truth 
That the Messengers of our Lord 
Brought unto us." And they 
Shall hear the cry: 

"Behold! the Garden before you! 
Ye have been made 1 ""' 

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1021. A man who may have suffered or been disappointed may have a lurking sense 
of injury at the back of lus mind, which may spoil his enjoyment on account of past 
memory intruding in the midst of felicity. In such cases mem or)' itself is pain. Even 
sorrow is intensified by memory: as Tennyson says, “A sorrow’s crown of sorrows is 
remembering happier things," But that is in this our imperfect life. In the perfect felicity 
of the righteous, alt such feelings will he blotted out. No "heartaches* 1 then and no 
memories of them! The clouds of the past will have dissolved in glorious light, and no 
past happiness wilt be comparable with the perfect happiness which will have then been 
attained. Nor will any sense of envy or shortcoming be possible in that perfect bliss. 

IU22. Jesus said: " Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth": Matt, v. 
5. Here wc are told: blessed are the righteous, for they shall inherit the kingdom of 
heaven. The stress here is on actual practical deeds of righteousness: whether they find 
their rewards on earth or not is immaterial: their attention is directed to an infinite Iv 

>n 1 

- 409 - 

S.7 A. 4.1-46 

J. H .jaLl 


I is inheritors, fur your 
Deeds (of righteousness) /' 

44. The Companions of the Garden 
Will call out to the Companions 
Of the f ; ire: "We have 
Indeed found the promises 

Of our Lord to us true: 

Have you also found 
Your Lord's promises true? 1 * 

They shall say. “Yes”: hui n,i ’ 

A Crier shall proclaim 
Between them: “The curse 
Of Allah is on the wrong- doers;- 

45. "Those who would hinder (men) 
From the path of Allah 
Desiring to make 

Something crooked: 1024 
They were those who 
Denied the Hereafter/' 

46. Between them shall be 

A veil, and on the Heights 1025 

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greater reward, the kingdom of heaven. In the Sermon on the Mount this is promised 
to the "poor in spirit": Matt, v, _L 

1023* The Companions of the Fire can only answer a single word. "Yes," such h 
their state of misery. Even so, their voice is drowned in the voice of the Crier, who 
explains their state: they ate in a stale of curse, that is, deprivation of the grace and 
mercy of Allah. Such deprivation is the highest misery that souls can suffer. 

11)24, The unrighteous reflect I heir own crooked minds when the path of Allah is 
before them. Instead of going straight, they try to find something in it that suits their 
own crooked ideas. Frankly they have rn> faith in the final Goal, the Hereafter. 

1025. This is a difficult passage, and Commentators have interpreted it in different 
ways. Three distinct schools of thought may be discerned in the interpretation. (I) One 
school thinks that the men on the Heights are angels, or such men of exalted spiritual dignity 
fe.g.. the great prophets), as will he able So know the souls at sight as regards their real 
worth: the Heights will be their exalted stations, from which they will welcome the 
righteous with a salutation of peace, even before the righteous have entered heaven; the 
salutation of peace being itself an assurance of salvation to those whom they salute, (2) 
Another school of thought thinks that the men on the Heights are such souls as are not 
decidedly on the side of merit or decidedly on the side of sin, but evenly balanced on 
a partition between heaven and hell. Their ease is ye; to be decided, but their salutation 
to the righteous is a wistful salutation, because they hope for Allah's Mercy. 

- 410 - 

Will be men 

Who would know every one 

By his marks: they will call 

Out to the Companions 

Of the Garden, “Peace be upon you”: 

They have not entered it. 

But they still hoped. 

To (enter it). 

47. When their eyes 1026 shall be turned 
Towards the Companions 

Of the Fire, they will say: 

"Our Lord! send us not 
To the company 
Of the wrong-doers/* 


48. The men on the Heights 
Will call to certain men 
Whom they will know 
From their marks, saying : m> 

“Of what profit to you 
Were your hoards and your 
Arrogant ways? 

49. “Behold! are these not 
The men whom you swore 
That Allah with His Mercy 

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1026. Thrir eyes: according to interpretation (2) of the last note, ‘'their" would refer 
to the people whose fate has not yet been decided, and the speech would be theirs; 
according to interpretations (l) and (3) in that nolc, “their" would refer to the 
Companions of the Garden, who would realise the terrible nature of hell, mid express 
their horror of it. I prefer the latter. Then the mention of the “men on the Heights" 
and l heir speech in verse 48 comes in naturally as a different kind id speech front a 
different kind of men. 

1027, this speech is in three pans: (t) the last lines of this verse are addressed to 
the Companions of the Fire, reminding them (as a bench of judges might speak to a 
prisoner) of the futility of their wealth and riches and arrogance m their earthly life: (2) 
the second part, in the first half of verse 49, recalls to their minds how false was their 
contempt of the good but lowly men who are now- to be the inheritors of heaven: and 
(3) the latter pan of verse 49, “enter ye the Garden” is addressed to (he IS lessee!, to 
give them a welcome to their state of felicity. 

i ■ 

- 411 - 

S.7 A. 49-52 

J. 8 ^UJI *^1 

V *-il «jjp— 1 


Would never bless? 
tinier ye the Garden: 

No fear shall be on you. 

Nor shall ye grieve." 

50, The Companions of the Fire 
Will call to the Companions 
Of the Garden: "Pour down 
To us water or anything 
That Allah doth provide 
For your sustenance," 

They will say: "Both 
These things hath Allah forbidden 
To those who rejected Him;- In2> * 

"Such as took their religion 
To be mere a muse mail 
And play, and were deceived 
By the life Of the world." 

Thai day shall We forget them 1 ” 2 * 
As they forgot the meeting 
Of this day of theirs. 

And as they were wont 
To reject Our Signs, 

For We had certainly 
Sent unto them a Book, 

Based on knowledge. 

Which We explained 
In detail -a guide 
And a mercy 
To all who believe. 

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It J2H. The Companions of the Fire will thirst for water and not get it, and for 
sustenance which will not be theirs, while the Companions of the Garden will have the 
crystal waters of the springs and rivers and they will enjoy the Miss of Allah's 
Countenance, which will be their supreme nourishment and the fruit of their life of 
probation and seeking. These things will not be transferable Cf. also wxvii. 4M7. 62-67. 

102V. “Forgetfulness* 1 may be involuntary, from a defect of memory, or figuratively, 
a deliberate turning away from, or ignoring of, something we do not want, as when we 
say in an argument, "you conveniently forget that so-and-so is so-and-so." Here the latter 
kind is meant. It men deliberately ignored the Hereafter in spite of warnings, can they 
expect to be received by Allah. Whom they themselves rejected? 

- 412 - 

53. Arc they waiting far its fulfilment? 
On the day when it is fulfilled* 1 *' 10 
Those who have forgotten it 
Before will say: "The Messengers 
Of our Lord did indeed 

Bring true (tidings). Have we 
No intercessors now to intercede 
On our behalf? Or could we 
Be sent back? Then should we 
Behave differently from our 
Behaviour in the past." 

In fact they will have lost 
Their souls, and the things 
They forged will leave 
Them in the lurch. 


54. Your Guardian Lord 
Is Allah, Who created 

fhe heavens and the earth 11111 

In six Days, then He 

Settled Himself on the Throne: 11 * 1 ' 

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t03tl. If those without Faith want to wait and see what happens in the Hereafter, 
they will indeed learn the truth* hui u will he too late for them to profit by it then. 
All the false ideals and false gods which they put their trust upon will leave them in the 
lurch. If they thought that the goodness or greatness of others would help them, they 
will he undeceived on the day when their personal responsibility will be enforced. There 
will be no salvation except tin their own record. How they will then wish that they had 
another chance! But their chance will he gone. 

m3!. A subtime verse, comparable lo the Throne Verse ii, 255 As for the Creation 
in six Days, in xxii. 47, we are told that a Day in the sight of Allah is like a thousand 
years of our reckoning, and in Ixx, 4, the comparison is with 50,(HH) of our years. In the 
history of our material earth, we tnay reckon six great epochs of evolution. 

1032, Here, we are told of the creation of the heavens and the earth m six days. 
Bui test we should he obsessed with *he Jewish idea that Allah rested on the seventh 
day, we are told that the Creation was hut a prelude to Allah’s work: for His authority 
is exercised constantly by the laws which He establishes and enforces in all parts of His 
Creation, The beautiful imagery of night and day seeking out each other in rapid 
succession is still further enforced in the Arabic by the double accusative of the verb 
yui*\hi t showing the mutual interactions of the day and the night, each covering the other 
in turn* The heavenly bodies show an order which is evidence of His constant care and 
government. Not only that, hut it is only He Who creates, maintains, and governs, and 
no one else. 

- 413 * 

S.7 A. 54-57 

J. 8 ^hll .jj-l 

He draweth 

The nighi as a veil 

O'er the day, each seeking 

The other in rapid succession: 

And the sun. 

The moon, and the stars * 

(All) arc subserviam 
By llis Command, 

Verily, His are the 
Creation and the Command 


Be Allah, the Cherishcr 
And Sustainer of the Worlds! 


. \m 



Call on your Lord 
With humility and in private: 

For Allah loveth not 

Those who trespass beyond bounds. 

Do not mischief on the earth. 

After it hath been 1014 
Set in order, hut call 
On Him with fear UlH 
And longing (in your hearts): 

For the Mercy of Allah 
Is (always) near 
To those who do good. 

It is He Who sendeth 
The Winds like heralds 

* *£ j < ^ i #>. 

JpGlJ .J ")i 4 f 


f 4 < 

» ; -f •<"'*"? n"\"C’' > > 

1033. In prayer, we must avoid any arrogance or show or loudness, or vanity of 
requests or words. If excess is condemned in all things, it is specially worthy of 
condemnation when we go humbly before our Lord,— wc poor creatures before the 
Omnipotent Who knoweth all. 

11134. Tile man who prays with humility and earnestness finds the ground prepared 
by Allah for his spiritual advancement, it is alt set in order, and cleared of weeds. He 
does not. like the wicked, upset that order, to introduce evil or mischief inlet it. 

1035. Fair and longing: the fear of Allah is really a fear lest we should diverge from 
His Will, or do anything which would not be pleasing to Him: unlike ordinary fear, it 
therefore brings us nearer to Allah, and in fact nourishes our longing and desire for Him. 

~ — ! 

- 414 - 

S,7 A. 57-58 

Of ghid tidings, going before 1 "'' 1 
1 1 is Mercy: when they have 
Carried the heavy-laden 
Clouds. We drive them 
To a land that is dead, 

Make rain to descend thereon. 
And produce every kind 
Of harvest therewith: thus 
Shall We raise up the dead: 
Perchance ye may remember. 

58- From the land that is clean 
And good, by the Will 
Of its Cherishcr, springs up 
Produce t (rich) after its kind: 1,11 
But from the land that is 
Bad. springs up nothing 
But that which is scanty 
Thus do we explain the Signs 
By various (symbols) to those 

Who are grateful 

jfex . .jfigfc fOub$i od 


€ ^ 

1036, The Parable is complete in its triple significance. (1) tn the physical world the 
winds go like heralds of glad tidings, they arc the advance guard, behind which is coming 
a great army of winds driving heavily laden clouds before it; the wise Providence of Allah 
is their General, who directs them towards a parched land* on which the clouds deliver 
their gladdening showers of mercy, which convert the dead land into a living, fertile, and 
beautiful land bearing a rich harvest. (2) tn the spiritual world, the winds are the great 
motive forces in the mind of man* or in the world around him, that bring the clouds 
or instruments of Allah's Mercy, which descend and fertilise souls hitherto spiritually 
dead, (3) l! we can see or experience such things in our life here below, can we doubt 
the resurrection? 

31157. The triple parable explained m the last note is here continued. (1) In the 
physical world, the fertilising showers of rain yield a rich harvest on good soil, but had 
soil yields little or nothing, (2) fn the spiritual world* also* Allah's Merries evoke no 
response in some souls which have chosen evil. (3) In the final reckoning, though all will 
be raised, mu all will achieve the fulfilment of their lives, 

103K. Those who are grateful are those who joyfully receive Allah's Message, and 
respond to it by deeds of righteousness 

- 415 - 

S.7 A, 59*64 

Lf x*r tJlf r A r x&t 

— ' ' 


J.K jAH t^L| VoljftVl i J<# - 

— ^ 

59* We sent Noah to his people* 
He said: ‘*0 my people! 
Worship Allah! ye have 
No other god but Him* 

I fear for you the Punishment 
Of a dreadful Day!" 

60. The leaders of his people 
Said: "Ah! we see thee 
hi evident error." 

61* He said: "O my people! 

There is no error 
In me: on the contrary 
1 am a messenger from 
The Lord and Cherisher 
Of the Worlds!" 

62* "1 hut convey to you" 

The Message of my Lord 
Sincere is my advice to you. 
And I know from Allah 
Something that ye know not. 

63. "Do ye wonder that 
There hath come to you 
A reminder from your Lord* 
Through a man of your own 
People, to warn you,- 
So that ye may fear Allah 
And haply receive His Mercy?" 

f>4. But they rejected him. 

And We delivered him. 

And those with him. 

In the Ark: 

J 1^3, dl 1 jJil 

- -Q C ' *Ajh* 

p * < 11 ^^ STS' t 

SjS ^ibii 13^^^ SlJi jti 

yjl oAjLJ \ j ^ 

^ oyv 

1039. The story of Noah in greater detail will be found in xi. 25*49, Here the scheme 
is to let! briefly the stories of some of the Prophets between Noah ami Muse*, and lead 
up thus to a lesson for the ton temporaries of the Prophet Muhammad himself. When 
Noah attacked the wickedness of his generation, he was laughed at for a madman, for 
he mentioned the Great Day to come in the Hereafter, Allah's retribution came soon 
afterwards-the great Mood, in which his unbelieving people were drowned, but he and 
those who believed in him and came into the Ark were saved. 

* 416 * 

S,7 A, 64-67 

J.8 /r*Wl fJ-l 

V ijj~- 


Bm We overwhelmed 
In i he Flood those 
Who rejected Our Signs, 

They were indeed 
A blind people! 


65. To the ‘Ad people t l£M0 
(We sent) Hud* one 

Of their (own) brethren: 

He said: "O my people! 
Worship Allah! ye have 
No other god hut Him. 

Will ye not fear (Allah)?" 

66. The leaders of the unbelievers 
Among his people said: 

“Ah! we see thou art 

In folly!" and “We think 
Thou art a liar!" 

67. He said: “O my people! 

There is no folly in me" hut 
(I am) a messenger from 
The Lord and Cherishcr 

Of the Worlds! 

jjj' !> j ^ Of 

s ij»*: ; * 

diiij Ui y^\X. i5i 

PHI). 11k- ‘Ad people, with their prophet Hud, are mentioned in many places. See 
especially xxvi. 1 23- 1 4t)_ and xbi. 2L2b. Their story belongs to Arabian tradition. Their 
eponymous ancestor "Ad was fourth in generation from Noah* having been a son of *Aus, 
the son of Aram, the son of Sam, the son of Noah. They occupied a large tract of country 
in Southern Arabia, extending from Urn man at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf to 
Hadhramaut and Yemen at the southern end of the Red Sea. The people were tall in 
stature and were great builders. Probably the tong, winding tracts of sands (ahquf) in their 
dominions (xlvi. 21) were irrigated with canals. They forsook the true God, ami oppressed 
their people. A three years famine visited them. Inn yet they took no warning. At length 
a terrible blast of wind destroyed them and their land, but a remnant, known as the 
second *Ad or the Thamud (see below) Were saved, and afterwards suffered a similar fate 
for their sins. 

The tomb of the Prophet Hud (qahr Nab! lixltt) U still traditionally shown in 
Hadhramaut. latitude 16° N, and longitude 49 ■>. E°, about 90 miles north of MukalUi. 
There are ruins and inscriptions in the neighbourhood. See "Hadhramaut, Some of its 
Mysteries Unveiled," by D. van dcr Meulcn and H. von Wissmann, Leyden, 1932. 


- 417 - 

S.7 A. 68*7 1 

J. 8 UJl t yLl 

“I but convey 10 you 
The messages of my Lord: 
[ am to you a sincere 
And trustworthy adviser”. 


171 . 


“Do ye wonder that 
There hath come to you 
A message from your Lord 
Through a man of your own 
People, to warn you? 

Call in remembrance 

That He made you 

Inheritors after the people 

Of Noah, and gave you 

A stature tall among the nations. 

Call in remembrance 

The benefits (ye have received) 

From Allah: that so 

Ye may prosper." 

They said: “Come si thou 

To us, that vve may worship 

Allah alone, and give up 

That which our fathers used to worship 

Bring us what thou 

Threat enesl us with. 

If so be that thou 
Tellesi the truth!" 

He said: “Punishment 
And wrath have already mi 
Come upon you from your Lord: 
Dispute ye with me 
Over names which ye lm2 

aJiB JLjJ \ y Lfl 


”i/J* rt^==L^lp Jli 

1041. The past tense may he understood in three ways, (1) A terrible famine had 
already afflicted the "Ad as a warning before they were overwhelmed in the final blast 
of hot wind (see the last note), (2) The terrible insolence and sin into which they had 
fallen was itself a punishment. (3) The prophetic past is used, ns much as to say: “Behold! 
S see a dreadful calamity: it is already on yon!" 

1042. Why dispute over names and imaginary gods, the inventions of vour minds? 
Come to realities. If you ask for the punishment and are waiting in insolent defiance, 
what can 1 do hut also wai!?-in fear and trembling for you, for 1 know that Allah's 
punishment is sure! 

- 418 - 

S.7 A. 7 1 -73 

J.S jAii\ cjJLl 

1 lave devtsed-ye 
Anil your fathers*— 

Without authority from Allah? 

Then wait: J am 

Amongst you, also waiting," 

72, We saved him and those 
Who adhered to him. 

By Our Mercy and We 
Cut off the roots of those 
Who rejected Our Signs 
And did not believe. 


73. To the Thu mud people 1115 ' 

(We sent) Salih* one 

Of their own brethren: 

He said: “O my people! 



iifufe&i Zli=*U& • 

1045. The Thamud people were the successors to the culture and civilisation of the 
V\d people, for whom see n. Id-lit and vii. ft5 above. They were cousins to the 'Ad. 
apparently a younger branch of the same race. Their story also belongs to Arabian 
tradition, according to which their eponymous ancestor Thamud was a son of 'Ahir (a 
brother of Aram)* the son of Sam, the son of Noah. Their scat was in the north-west 
corner of Arabia (Arabia Pctraca). between Madina h and Syria, It included hath rocky 
country ( hijr . xv. SO), and the spacious fertile valley (Wadi) and plains country of (Jura, 
which begins just north of the City id Madinah and is traversed by the Hijaz Railway. 
When the holy Prophet in the Mth year id' the Hijra Led his expedition to Tahuk (about 
40(1 miles north of Vfadmah) against the Roman forces, on a reported Roman invasion 
from Syria, he and his men came across the archaeological remains of the Thamud. The 
recently excavated rock city of Petra, near Ma un, may go hack U> the Thamud, though 
its architecture has many features connecting it with Egyptian and Graeco-Roman culture 
overlaying what is called by European writers Nabaucan Culture. Who were the 
Nabataeans? They were an old Arab tribe which played a considerable pan in history 
after they came into conflict with Antigonus l in 312 B,C Their capital was Petra, but 
they extended their territory rigid tip to the Euphrates. In 85 H.C. they were lords of 
Damascus under their king Hard ha (Aretas of Roman history). For some time they were 
allies of the Roman Empire and held the Red Sea littoral The Emperor Trajan reduced 
them and annexed their territory in A.D 105. The Nabateans succeeded the Thamud 
of Arabian tradition. The Thamud are mentioned by name in an inscription of I he 
Assyrian King Sargon. dated 715 U.C.* as a people of Eastern and Central Arabia 
( Encyclopaedia of See also Appendix VH to S. xxvi. 

With the advance of material civilisation* the Thamud people became godless and 
arrogant, and were destroyed by an earthquake. Their prophet and warner was Salih, and 
the crisis in their history is connected with the story of a wonderful she-camct: see next 

- 419 * 

Worship Allah; ye have 
No oilier god bul Him, 

Now hath come urtto you 
A clear (Sign) from your Lord! 
This she-catnel of Allah 
Is a Sign unto you: 

So leave her to graze 
In Allah's earth, and let her 
Come lo no harm. 

Or ye shall be seized 

With a grievous punishment T UW4 

“And remember how He 
Made you inheritors 
After the ‘Ad people 
And gave you habitations 
In the land: ye build 
For yourselves palaces and castles 
In (open) plains, and carve out 
Homes in the mountains; 

So bring to remembrance 
The benefits (ye have received) 
From Allah, and refrain 
From evil and mischief 
On the earth," 

The leaders of the arrogant 
Party among his people said 
To those who were reckoned 

ltW4. The story of this wonderful shc-cumeh that was a sign to the Thamuil . is 
variously told in, tradition. We need not follow the various versions in the traditional 
story. What we are told in the Qur-iin is: that (I) she was a Sign or Symbol, which the 

prophet Salih, used for a warning to the haughty oppressors of the poor: (2) there was 

scarcity of water, and the arrogant or privileged classes tried to prevent the access of the 
poor or their cattle to the springs, while Salih intervened on their behalf (xxvi. 1 55 , liv. 

28); (3) like water, pasture was considered a free gift of nature, in this spacious earth 

of Allah (viL 73), but the arrogant ones tried to monopolise the pasture also; (4) this 
particular she-eamel was made a test case (liv. 27) to see if the arrogant ones would come 
to reason; (5) the arrogant ones, instead of yielding to the reasonable rights of the people, 
ham-strung the poor she-came! and slew' her, probably secretly (xcL 14, liv. 29): the cup 
of their iniquities was full, and the Thamud people were destroyed by a dreadful 
earthquake, which threw them prone on the ground and buried them with their houses 
and their fine buildings. 

S. 7 A. 73-75 

- 42(1 - 

S.7 A. 75-79 


V Jl^l 

Powerless-lhosc among them 1114 * 
Who believed: “Know ye 
Indeed that Salih is 
A messenger from his Lord?' 1 
They said: “We do indeed 
Believe in the revelation 11 * 4 * 1 
Which hath been sent 
Through him." 

76. The arrogant party said: 

“For our part, we reject 
What ye believe in." 

77. Then they ham-strung 

The she-camel, and insolently 
Defied the order of their Lord, 
Saying: "O Salih! bring about 
Thy threats, if thou art 
A messenger (of Allah)!" 

78. So the earthquake took them 1,11 
Unawares, and they lay 
Prostrate in their homes 

In the morning! 

79. So Salih left them, 11 * 4 * 

| ^ 15 

* t S 

$ tL>Sj£.l££i 


j'A: — ^ 

1045. As usually happens in such cases, the Believers were the lowly and the humble, 
and the oppressors were the arrogant, who in selfishly keeping back nature's gifts ( which 
arc Allah's gifts) from the people, were deaf to the dictates of justice and kindness. Salih 
look the side of the unprivileged, and was therefore himself attacked. 

1046. Notice the relation between the question and the answer. The godless chiefs 
wanted to discredit Salih, and put a personal question, as much as to say, "Is he not 
a liar?" The Believers took hack the issue to the higher plane, as much as to say. “We 
know he is a man of Allah, but look at the justice for which he is making a stand: to 
resist it is to resist Allah”. The answer of the godless was to reject Allah in words, and 
in action to commit a further act of cruelty and injustice in ham-stringing and killing the 
she-camel, at the time time hurling defiance at Salih and his God. 

1047. The retribution was not long delayed, A terrible earthquake came and buried 
the people and destroyed their boasted civilisation. The calamity must have been fairly 
extensive in area and intense in the terror it inspired, for it is described (liv. 3t) as a 
“single mighty blast 41 {sailtutan mihidutan), the sort of terror-inspiring noise which 
accompanies all big earthquakes, 

1048. Salih was saved by Allah's mercy as a just and righteous man His speech here 
may be either a parting warning, or it may be a soliloquy lamenting the destruction of 
his people for their sin and folly. 

- 421 - 

S. 7 A. 79-82 



S living: "O my people! 

I did indeed convey to you 
The message for which 
1 was sent by my Lord: 

I gave you good counsel, 

Hut ye love not good counsellors 

We also (sent) Lut: llw 
1 le said to his people: 

"Do ye commit lewdness 
Such as no people 
hi creation (ever) committed 
Before you? 

"For ye practise your lusts 
Ou men in preference 
To women: ye are indeed 
A people transgressing 
Beyond bounds'". 

And his people gave 
No answer but this: 

They said, "Drive them out 
Of your city: these are 

1049. Lut is the Lot of the English Bible His story is biblical, hut freed from some 
shameful features which are a blot on the biblical narrative, (e.g.. see Gen. xix. 30-36). 
He was a nephew of Abraham, and was sent as a Prophet and Warner to the people of 
Sodom and Gomorrah, cities utterly destroyed for their unspeakable sins. They cannot 
be exactly located, but it may be supposed that they were somewhere in the plain east 
of the Dead Sea. The story of their destruction is told in the 1 9th chapter of Genesis. 
Two ungels in the shape of handsome young men came to Lot in the evening and became 
his guests by night. The inhabitants of Sodom in their hist for unnatural crime invaded 
I aifs house but were repulsed. In the morning, the angels warned Lot to escape with 
his family. "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire 
from the Lord out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all 
the inhabit ams of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground tint his wife looked 
back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt," (Gen. xix. 24-26). 

Note that Lot’s people are the people to whom he is sent on a mission. He was not 
one of their own brethren, as was Salih or Shu’aih. But he looked upon his people as 
his brethren (I, 13), as a man of God always does. 


422 - 

S.7 A. 82-85 


indeed men who want 

J. 8 

To be clean and pure!” 11 * 50 

83, But We saved him 
And his family, except 
His wife: she was 

Of those who lagged behind 111 ' 1 

84, And wc rained down on them 
A shower (of brimstone): 11152 
Then sec what was ihe end 
Of those who indulged 

In sin and crime* 


83, To the Madyan people 1 m 

^ /,?? 

C& Z&SX& 

ttJ5f). An instance of the withering sarcasm that hardened sinners use against the 
righteous. They wound with words, and follow up the insult with deeds of injustice, 
tli in king that they would bring the righteous into disgrace. But Allah looks after His own, 
ami in the end. the wicked themselves arc overt hrown when the cup of their iniquity is 

1051. In the biblical narrative she looks back, a physical act (see n 11149): here she 
is a type of those who lag behind, i.e, whose mental and moral attitude, in spile of their 
association with the righteous, is to hark hack to the glitter of wickedness and vim The 
righteous should have one sole objective, the Way of Allah. They should not look behind, 
nor yet to the right or the left. 

1052. The shower is expressly stated m Q. xi, 82 to have been of stones. In xv. 73-74, 
we are told that there was a terrible blast or noise f saihat) in addition to the shower 
of stones. Taking these passages into consideration along with Gen. xix. 24. (see n. 1049 
above). 1 think it is legitimate to translate: “a shower of brimstone." 

1053. “Madyan” may be identified with “Midt&n'\ Midian and the Midianites arc 
frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, though the particular incident here mentioned 
belongs to Arab rather than to Jewish tradition. The Midianites were of Arab race, 
though, as neighbours of the Canaan ites, they probably intermixed with them. They were 
a wandering tribe: it was Midi anile merchants to whom Joseph was sold inio slavery, and 
who took him to Egypt- I heir principal territory in the lime of Moses was in the north* 
east of the Sinai Peninsula, and cast of the Amalekiles. Under Moses the Israelites waged 
a war of extermination against them: they slew the kings of Midian, slaughtered all the 
males, burnt their cities and castles, and captured their cattle (Num, xxxi, 7-11). This 
sounds like total extermination. Vet a few f generations idler wards, they were so powerful 
dial the Israelites for their sins were delivered into the captivity of the Midianites for 
seven years: both the Midianites and their camels were without number: ami die Israelites 

hid from them in “dens eaves, and strongholds*' (Judges vii. 1-6). Gideon deployed 

them again, (Judges vii. 1-25). say about two centuries after Moses. As the decisive battle 
was near the hilt of Moreh. not far south of Mount Tabor, wc may localise the Midianites 

- 423 - 

We sent $bii*aib , lfl54 one 
Of their own brethren: he said: 
”Q my people! worship Allah: 

Ye have no other god 
But Him. Now hath come 
Unto you a clear (Sign) 

From your Lord! Give just 
Measure and weight, nor withhold 
From the people the things 
That are their due; and do 
No mischief on the earth 
After it has been set 
In order: that will be best 
For you, if ye have Faith.” 

m * ■*’T 

i ^\y\j 

on this occasion in the northern parts of 
the Sinai Peninsula. 

the Jordan valley, at least 2(H) miles north of 

This and the previous destruction under Moses were local, and mention no town of 
Midian. In later limes there was a town of Madyan on the cast side of the Gull of 
’Aqaba. It is mentioned in Josephus, Eusebius, and Ptolemy: (Encyclopaedia of telam). 
Then it disappears from geography. In Muslim times it was a revived town with quite 
a different kind of population, hut it never flourished. The Midianites disappeared from 

I f 154 . ShuMih belongs to A rah rather than to Jewish tradition, to which he is 
unknown. His identification with Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, has no warrant, and 
I reject it. There is no similarity cither in names or incidents, and there are chronological 
difficulties (see n. 1064 below). If, as the Commentators tell us, SlnTaib was in the fourth 
generation front Abraham, being a great-grandson of Madyan (a son of Abraham), he 
would be only about a century from the time of Abraham, whereas the Hebrew' Bible 
would give us a period of four to six centuries between Abraham and Moses. The mere 
tact that Judin i was a Midianile and that another name. Hobab. is mentioned for a father* 
indaw of Moses in Num x, 29, is slender ground for idcntifieaion. As the Midianites were 
mainly a nomad tribe, we need not be surprised that their destruction in one or two 
settlements did noi affect their life in wandering sections of the iribe in other geographical 
regions. Shu‘aib\ mission was apparently in one of the settled towns of the Midianites, 
which was completely destroyed by an earthquake (vii. 91). tf this happened in the 
century after Abraham, there is no difficulty in supposing that they were again a 
numerous tribe, three or five centuries later, in I he time of Moses (see last note). As 
they were a mixed wandering tribe, both their resilience and their eventual absorption 
can he easily understood. But the destruction of the settlement or settlements (if the 
Wood or Aik a was a separate settlement, see n. 20(H) to xv, 7H) to which Shu'aib was 
sent to preach was complete, and no traces of it now remain. 

The name of the highest mountain of Yemen, Nab! Shu'aib (11,000 ft.) has probably 
no connection with the geographical territory of the nomad Midianites, unless we suppose 
that their wanderings extended so far south from the territories mentioned in the last 

- 424 - 

S. 7 A. 86-87 


“Ant! squat not on every road, 
Breathing threats, hindering 
From the path of Allah 
Those who believe in Him, 

And seek to make it crooked; 
But remember how yc were 
Little, and He gave you increase. 
And sec 

What was die end 

Of those who did mischief. 11 *" 

87. "And if there is a party 
Among you who believes 
hi the Message with which 
I have been sent, and a party 
Which does not believe, 1056 
Hold yourselves in patience 
Until Allah doth decide 

" " “'I i X ^ 

1055. The Midianites were in the path of a commercial highway of Asia, viz., that 
between two such opulent and highly organised nations as Egypt and the Mesopotamian 
group comprising Assyria and Babylonia. Their besetting sins are thus characterised here: 
(I) giving short measure or weight, whereas the strictest commercial probity is necessary 
for success, (2) a more general form of such fraud, depriving people of rightful dues, (3) 
producing mishchief and disorder, whereas peace and order had been established (again 
in a literal as well as a metaphorical sense); (4) not content with upsetting settled life, 
taking to highway robbery, literally as well as (5) metaphorically, in two ways, viz., 
cutting off people from access to the worship of Allah, and abusing religion and piety 
for crooked purposes, i.e.. exploiting religion itself for their crooked ends, as when a man 
builds houses of prayer out of unlawful gains or ostentatiously gives charity out of money 
which he has obtained by force or fraud, etc. After setting out this catalogue of besetting 
sins Shuaib makes two appeals to the past: (1) You began as an insignificant tribe, and 
by Allah’s favour you increased and multiplied in numbers and resources: do you not then 
owe a duly to Allah to tulfil His Law? (2) What was the result in the case of those who 
fell into sin? Will you not take warning by their example? 

So Shu'aib began his argument with faith in Allah as the source of all virtue, and 
ended it with destruction as (he result of all sin. In the next verse he pleads with them 
to end their controversies and come to Allah. 

1 056. Madyan is torn by internal conflict. Shu'aib comes as a peace maker, not in 
virtue of his own wisdom, but by an appeal to the truth, righteousness and justice of 
Allah. As we see later, the real motives of his opponents were selfishness, arrogance, 
violence, lawlessness, and injustice. But he appeals to their better nature, and is prepared 
to argue on the hasis that the party which wants to suppress those who believe in Allah's 
Message and in righteousness, has some sincere mental difficulty in accepting Shu'aib's 
mission, "If,” he says to them, "that is the case, do you think it justifies your intolerance. 

i AjuLla >j <. Aj cTJ £ 

- 425 - 

S. 7 A. 87-89 

J, 9 





’ ':<' 























Between m\ for He 
Is the best to decide,” 1 - 057 

88. The leaders, the arrogant 

Party among his people, said; 1 
“O Shidaib! we shall 
Certainly drive thee out 
Of our city-(thee) and those 
Who believe with thee: 

Or else ye (thou and they) 
Shall have to return 
To our religion.” 

He said: “What! even 
Though we do detest (them)? 

“Wc should indeed forge 10 ™ 

A he against Allah, 


uL> IjLi 1 C 4/jj \j ^ MW . M i h 

0 j U L' . -^U l| 



=■*•■» ’hi 

your violence, or your persecution? On die contrary, events will prove by themselves who 
is right and who is wrong.” To the small band who believe in his mission and follow 
his teaching, he would preach patience and perseverance. His argument to them would 
be; “You have faith; surely your faith is strong enough to sustain you in the hope that 
Allah’s truth will triumph in the end; there is no cause for despair or dejection.” 

How exactly these past experiences fit the times of our holy guide Muhammad! And 
it is for that analogy and that lesson that the stories of Noah, Hud, Salih, Lut, and 
Shu'aib are related to us-all different, and yet all pointing to the great lessons in 
Muhammad’s life. 

1057, See the argument in the last note. Allah’s decision may come partly in this 
very life, either for the same generation or for succeeding generations, by the logic of 
external events. Hut in any case it is bound to come spiritually on a higher plane 
eventually, when the righteous will be comforted and the sinners will be convinced of sin 
from their own inner conviction. 

1058, The gentle, all-persuasive arguments of Shuhitb fell on hard hearts. Their only 
reply was; “Turn him out!-him and his people,” When courtesy and a plea for toleration 
are pitted against bigotry, what room is there for logic? But bigotry and unrighteousness 
Slave their own crooked ways of pretending to be tolerant, “O yes!” they said, “we arc 
very tolerant and long-suffering! But wc are for our country and religion. Come back to 
the ways of our fathers, and wc shall graciously forgive you!” “Ways of their fathers t”- 
they meant injustice and oppression, high-handedness to the poor and the vveak, fraud 
under cover of religion, and so on! Perhaps the righteous were the poor and the weak. 
Were they likely to love such ways? Perhaps there was implied a bribe as well as a threat. 
“If you come back and wink at our iniquities, you shall have scraps of prosperity thrown 
at you. If not, out you go in disgrace!” 

1059, The answer of the righteous is threefold. (I) “Coming back is all very well. 
But do you mean that we should practise the vices we detest?” (2) “You want us to lie 
against our conscience and our Lord, after we have seen the evil of your ways.” (3) 

- 426 - 

S.7 A. 89-9(1 

J. 9 

If wc relumed to your religion 
After Allah hath rescued 
Us therefrom; nor could we 
By any manner of means 
Return thereto unless it be 
As in the will of Allah, 1060 
Our Lord. Our Lord 
Comprehends all things in 
Hi\ knowledge 
In Allah is our trust. 

Our Lord! Decide thou 10 *' 1 
Between us and our people 
In truth, for thou 
Art the best to decide/ 1 

90. The leaders, the Unbelievers 
Among his people, said: 

"If ye follow Shu’aib, 

Be sure then ye are ruined!" 1 ** 0 


“Neither bribes nor threats* nor specious appeals to patriotism or ancestral religion can 
move us: the mutter rests with Allah. Whose will and pleasure wc obey, and on Whom 
alone we rely. His knowledge will search out ul) your specious pretences/ 1 

IMV This, of course, does not mean that any one can ever return to evil ways with 
Allah's consent, Shu'aib has already emphatically repudiated (he idea of returning "to 
your ways after Allah hath rescued us 1 herefrom/' Bui even if I heir ways had been good, 
the human will, he goes on to say. has no data to rely upon, and he and his followers 
would only he guided by Allah's Will and Plan. 

1061 . Having answered the insincere quibhlers among the godless* the righteous turn 
In Allah in earnest prayer. The endless controversies in this world about abstract or 
speculative things never end even where both sides are sincere in their beliefs. The 
decision must be taken to Allah, Who sits on the throne of Truth, and Whose decisions 
will, therefore, be free from the errors and imperfections of all human judgment. The 
sincere have nothing to tear in the appeal to Him* as their motives are pure. 

UJ62. The answer of the Unbelievers is characteristic. As all their bribes and 
subtleties have failed, they resort to threats, which are worse than the argument of the 
slick. "All right," they say, “there is nothing hut ruin before you!" That means that the 
Believers will be persecuted, held up to obloquy, ostracised, and prevented from access 
to all means of honourable livelihood; their families and dependants will be insulted, 
reviled, and tortured, if they could hut he got into the enemy's power: their homes 
destroyed, and their names held up to ridicule and contempt even when they are gone. 
But, us verse l J2 says, their wicked designs recoiled on themselves; it was the wicked who 
were ruined and blotted out. 

- 427 - 

S.7 A. 91-93 


But the earthquake took them 
Unawares, and they lay 
Prostrate in their homes 
Before the morning! 1063 

The men who rejected 
Shu'aib became as if 
They had never been 
In the homes where they 
Had flourished: the men 
Who rejected ShiTiiib- 
It was they who were ruined! 

So Shu'aib left the in. 

Saying: "O my people! 

1 did indeed convey to you 
The Messages for which 
I was sent by my Lord: 

I gave you good counsel, 

Bui how shall I lament 
Over a people who refuse 
To believe!" 10 ** 

1063, The fate of the Madyan people is described in the same terms as that of the 
Thamiid in verse 78 above. An earthquake seized them by night, and they were buried 
in their own homes, no longer to vex Allah's earth. But a supplementary derail is 
mentioned in xxvL 189, “the punishment of a day of overshadowing gloom, 11 which may 
he understood to mean a shower of ashes and cinders accompanying a volcanic eruption. 
Thus a day of terror drove them into their homes, and the earthquake finished them. 
The lament of Shu*aib in verse 93 is almost the same as that of Salih in verse 79, with 
two differences: (1) Shu'aib's messages attacked the many sins of his people (see n. E 055 ) 
and are, therefore, expressed in the plural, while Salih's fight was chiefly against selfish 
arrogance, and his message is expressed in the singular; (2) the Thamiid were the more 
cultured people of the two, and perished in their own pride; as Salih said, “ye love not 
good counsellors 1 '; the Midia idles were a rougher people, and their minds were less 
receptive of argument or faith; as Shu aib said, they were a people who “refused to 
believe/ 1 

1064, Can we get any idea of the chronological place of the destruction of the 
Midianites? In n. H153 (vii. H5) we have discussed Ihe geographical aspects. The following 
considerations will help us in getting some idea of their period. (1) Tile stories of Noah, 
Hud, Salih, Lut, and Shu’aib seem to be in chronological order. Therefore Slm'aib came 
after Abraham, whose nephew- Lilt was. (2) If Shu'aib was in (he fourth generation from 
Abrahaim, (see n, 1590 to xi. 89), it would be impossible for him to have been a 
contemporary of Moses, who came many centuries later. This difficulty is recognised by 
I bn Kathir and other classical commentators* (3) The identification of Shu'aib with 
Jethro the father-in-law of Moses is without warrant; see u. 1054 {vii. 85). (4) Shu'aib 

- 428 - 

S. 7 A. 94-96 

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94. Whenever We sent a prophet 
To a town. We took up 

Its people in suffering 

And adversity, in order 

That they might call in humility. 1065 

95. Then We changed their suffering 
Into prosperity, until they grew 1066 
And multiplied, and began 

To say: “Our fathers (too) 

Were touched by suffering 
And affluence".. Behold! 

VVe took them to account 
Of a sudden, while they 
Realised not (their peril). 

96. If the people of the towns 
Had but believed and feared 
Allah, Wc should indeed 
Have opened out to them 
(All Kinds of) blessings 
From heaven and earth; 

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must have been before Moses; see vii 103. (5) The Medianites who were destroyed by 
Moses and by Gideon after him (n, 1053) were local remnants, as wc may speak of the 
Jews at the present day; hut their existence as a nation in their original home-lands seems 
to have ended before Moses: "they became as if they had never been in the homes where 
they had flourished'' (vii. 92). (6) Josephus, Eusebius, and Ptolemy mention a town of 
Madyan. but it was not of any importance (n. 1053). (7) After the first centuries of the 
Christian era, Madyan as a town appears as an unimportant place resting on its past. 

1065. Man was originally created pure. The need of a prophet arises when there is 
some corruption and iniquity, which he is sent to combat. His coming means much trial 
and suffering, especially to those who join him in his protest against wrong. Even so 
peaceful a prophet as Jesus said: "I came not to send peace but a sword" (Matt, x, 34), 
but it is all in Allah's Plan, for we must learn humility if we would be worthy of Him. 

1066, Allah gives enough rope to the sinful. They grow and multiply, and become 
scornful. Neither suffering nor affluence teaches them the lessons which they are meant 
to learn, viz. t patience and humility, gratitude and kindness to others. They take adversity 
and prosperity alike as a matter of chance. l O yes!" they say, "such things have 
happened in all ages! Our fathers had such experience before us, and our sons will have 
them after us. Thus goes on the world for all time 3” But does it? What about the decree 
of Allah? They are found napping when Nemesis overtakes them in the midst of their 
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But they rejected (the truth), 
And Wc brought them 
To book for their misdeeds. 

Did the people of the towns 
Feel secure against the coming 
Of Our wrath by night 
While they were asleep? 



Or else did they feel 
Secure against its coming 
In broad daylight while they 
Played about (care-free)? 

99. Did they then feel secure 
Against Allah’s devising 
But no one can feel 
Secure from the Plan 

Of Allah, except those 
(Doomed) to ruin! 1068 


100. To those who inherit 
The earth in succession 

To its (previous) possessors. 
Is it not a guiding (lesson) 
That, if Wc so willed, 

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1067. This and the two following verses should be read together. They furnish a 
commentary on the story of the five prophets that has already been related. Allah’s wrath 
may come by night or by day, whether people arc arrogantly defying Allah's laws or are 
sunk in lethargy or vain dreams of unreality. Who can escape Allah's decree, and who 
can feel themselves outside it except those who are seeking their own ruin? 

1068, This closes that chapter of the narrative which deals with Prophets who were 
rejected by their own people, but who stood firm on Allah’s message and were able to 
rescue a remnant who believed. In each case there were special circumstances and special 
besetting sins, which have been explained in the notes. The nations which as a body could 
not be won over to Allah’s Law perished. So far wc have been dealing with the 
corruptions and iniquities within each nation. In the story of Moses we have first a 
struggle against (he bondage of Egypt, one of the foremost powers then in the world, 
the rescue of the Israelites and their wanderings, and (heir proving themselves unworthy 
and being left to wander in a new sense when they rejected the new Prophet 
(Muhammad) who came to renew Allah's Message, 

- 430 - 

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We could punish them (too) 

For their sins* and seal up 
Their hearts so that they 
Could not hear? 11169 

Such were the towns 
Whose story We (thus) 

Relate unto thee: 

There came indeed to them 
Their Messengers with clear (Signs); 
But they would not believe 
What they had rejected before. 3 " ' 1 
Thus doth Allah seal up 
The hearts of those 
Who reject Faith. 

Most of them We found not 
Men (true) to their covenant: 

But most of the in We found 
Rebellious and disobedient. 

Then after them We sent 
Moses with Our Signs 
To Pharaoh and his chiefs. 

But they wrongfully rejected them: 
So see what was the end 
Of those who made mischief. 

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The stories which have been related should give a warning to present and 
future generations which have inherited the land, the power, or the experience of the 
past. They should know that if they fall into the same iins they will meet wills the same 
fate: when through their contumacy their hearts are hardened, they do not listen to the 
advice that falls on their ears. 

1070. Those who have heard the Message and rejected it find it more difficult 
afterwards to retrace their steps. Evil has blocked the channels of Allah's grace to them. 
It begins with their breaking their Covenant with Allah; with each step afterwards they 
fall deeper and deeper into the mire. 

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- 431 - 

S.7 AJU4-1U6 

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One for whom it is right 
To say nothing but truth 
About Allah. Now have l 
Come unto you (people), from 
Your Lord with a dear (Sign) 
So let the Children of Israel 
Depart along with me." 

(Pharaoh) said: 'if indeed 
Thou hast come with a Sign, 



1071. ilie story of Moses is told in many places in the Holy Qur-an, with a special 

lesson in each context. In ii. 49-71, the story is an appeal to the Jews from their own 
scripture and traditions, to show their true place in the religious history of mankind, and 
how they forfeited it. Here we have an instructive parallelism in that story to the story 
of Muhammad's mission -how both these men of Allah had tn fight against (I) n foreign 
foe, arrogant, unjust, faithless, and superstitious, and (2) against the same class of internal 
foe among their own people. Both of them won through. In the case of Moses, the 
foreign foe was Pharaoh and Ins Egyptians, who boasted of their earlier and superior 
civilisation: in the case of the Prophet Muhammand the foreign foes were the Jews 

themselves and the Christians of Ins day. Moses led li is people nearly to the hand of 

promise in spite of rebellions among his own people: Muhammad succeeded completely 

in overcoming the resistance of his own people by his own virtues and firmness of 

character, and by the guidance of Allah, What was a hope when these Makkan verses 
were revealed became an accomplishment before the end of his life and mission on earth, 

1072. "Pharaoh" (Arabic, Fir' aun) is a dynastic title, not the name of am particular 
king in Egypt. It has been traced to the ancient Hieroglyphic words. Perda k which mean 
"Great House.' The nun is an "infirm" letter added in the process of Arabisation. Who 
was the Pharaoh in the story of Moses V If the Inscriptions had helped us, we could have 
answered with some confidence, but unfortunately the Inscriptions fail us. h is probable 
that it was an early Pharaoh of the XVNIth Dynast), say Thothmcs L about 1541) B.C. 
See appendix tV. on Egyptian Chronology and Israel, printed at the end of this, Sura 

1073. Notice that Moses, in addressing Pharaoh and the Egyptians, claims Ins mission 
to be not from his God, or his peoptr's God but from "your Lord." from "the Lord of 
the Worlds." And 3ns mission is not to his people only: "I come unto you (Egyptian 
people) from your Lord." "The spirit of our version is entirely different from the spirit 
of the same story as told in the Old Testament (Exod. chapters i. to xv ). In Exod iii, 
18, the mission of Moses is expressed to be as from "the l ord God of the Hebrews." 

The essence of ihe whole Islamic story is this: Joseph's sufferings and good fortune 
were not merely a story in a romance. Joseph was a prophet: his sufferings and his 
subsequent rise to power and position in Egypt were to he a lesson (a) to his wicked 
brothers who sold him into slavery, (b) lo his people who were stricken with famine and 
found a welcome in Egypt, and (c) lo the Egyptians, who were arrogant over their high 

- 432 - 

S.7 A. 106-109 


Then (Moses) threw his rod. 

And behold! it was 
A serpent, plain (for all to see)! 10 ? 

And he drew out his hand. 

And behold! it was white 
To all beholders! 11,76 


Said the Chiefs of the people 
Of Pharaoh: “This is indeed 
A sorcerer well-versed. 

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material civilisation, but had yet to be taught the pure faith of Abraham. Israel prospered 
in Egypt, and stayed there perhaps two to four centuries, (Renan allows only one 
century). Times changed, and the racial bigotry of the Egyptians showed its head again, 
and Israel was oppressed. Moses was raised up with a threefold mission again (a) to learn 
all the learning of the Egyptians and preach Allah's Truth to them as one who had been 
brought up among themselves, (b) to unite and reclaim his own people, and (e) to rescue 
them and lead them to a new' world, which was to open out their spiritual horizon and 
lead them to the Psalms of David and the glories of Solomon. 

1074. the ensuing dialogue shows the psychology on the two sides. Pharaoh is silting 
in his court, with his ministers and chiefs around him. In their arrogance they are only 
amused at the effrontery and apparent revolt of the Israelite leaders, and they rely upon 
their own superior worldly power, aided by the magic which was a part of the Egyptian 
religion. Confronting them stand two men, Moses with his mission from Allah, and his 
brother Aaron who was his lieutenant. They arc confident, not in their own powers, but 
in the mission they had received. The first thing they have to do is to act on the 
subjective mind of the Egyptians, and by methods which by Allah's miracle show that 
Egyptian magic was nothing before the true power of Allah, 

1075. The serpent played a large part in Egyptian mythology. The great sun-god Ra 
won a great victory over the serpent Apophis, typifying the victory of light over darkness. 
Many of their gods and goddesses look the forms of snakes to impress their foes with 
terror, Moses’s rod as a type of a serpent at once appealed to the Egyptian mentality. 
The contempt which the Egyptians had entertained in their minds before was converted 
into terror. Here was some one who could control the reptile which their great god Ra 
himself had such difficulty in overcoming! 

1076. But the second Sign displayed by Moses was even more puzzling to the 
Egyptians, Moses drew out his hand from the folds of the garments on his breast, and 
it was white and shining as with divine light! This was to counter any suggestions of evil, 
which the serpent might have created. This was no work of evil, -of black magic, or a 
trick or illusion. His hand was transfigured- with a light which no Egyptian sorcerers could 
produce. In Islamic literature the "white hand" of Moses has passed into a proverb, for 
a symbol of divine glory dazzling to the beholders. 

- 433 * 

J. 9 

- 434 - 

110. "His plan is to get you out 
Of your land: then 
What is it ye counsel?" 1077 

HI. They said: "Keep him 

And Ids brother in suspense 
(For a while); and send 
To the cities men to colleci- 

112, And bring up to thee 

All (our) sorcerers well- versed,” 1 ' 

113, So there came 

The sorcerers to Pharaoh: 

'They said, “Of course 
We shall have a (suitable) 
Reward ir we win!” 1 " 79 

114, lie said: "Yea, (and more) - 
For ye shall in that case 

He (raised to posts) 

Nearest (to my person)." 

115, They said: "O Moses! 

Wilt thou throw (first), 


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1077. The two Signs had the desired effect on the Egyptians, They were impressed, 
but they judged them by their own standards. They thought to themselves, ‘These are 
ordinary sorcerers: let us search out our best sorcerers and show them that they have 
superior power/ But like all worldly people, they began to fear for their own power and 
possessions. It was far from Moses’s intention to drive out the Egyptians from their own 
laud. He merely wanted to end the Egyptian oppression. But the Egyptians had a guilty 
conscience, and they judged other people’s motives by iheir own. They discussed the 
matter in Council on quite wrong premises. 

1078, The advice of the Council to Pharaoh shows a misreading of the situation. They 
were in a panic about what the magic of this evidently powerful sorcerer could do against 
them. So they advised the Pharaoh to summon their most powerful sorcerers from all over 
the country, and in the meantime to hold Moses and Aaron in suspense, neither to yield 
to them nor definitely to oppose them. The Prophets of Allah could well afford to wait. 
Time is always in favour of Truth 

1(179, The most noted sorcerers of Pharaoh came. Their art was built up on trickery 
and imposture, and the first thing they could think of was u> make a selfish bargain for 
themselves, The Pharaoh and his Council would in their present stale of panic agree to 
anything. And so they did, Pharaoh not only promised them any rewards lliey desired 
1 1 they foiled the strange power of these men, but he also promised them the highest 
dignities round his own person. And so the contest begins, with due observance of the 
amenities observed by combatants before they come to dose grips. 

S. 7 A. 115-121 

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Or shall we have 
The (first) throw?" 

116. Said Moses: "Throw ye (first)." 

So when they threw. 

They bewitched the eyes 
Of the people, and struck 
Terror into them: and they 
Showed a great (feat of) magic . xmi 

117. We revealed to Moses 
"Throw thy rod**: and behold! 

It swallows up 

All the falsehoods 
Which they fake! 

MS. Thus truth was confirmed. 

And all that they did 
Was made of no effect. 

1 l l J. So they were vanquished 
There and then, and 
Turned about humble! 1181 

12(1, But the sorcerers fell down 
Prostrate in adoration. 

121. Saying: “We believe 

In the Lord of the Worlds. 

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1030. Moses and his brother Aaron were pitted against the most skilful magic-men 
of Egypt, but they were calm and confident and let the magic-men have their innings 
first. As is usual in this world, the magicians trickery made a great impression on the 
people, but when Moses threw his rod, the illusion was broken, and the falsehood was 
all shown up. In the Old Testament story (Exud. vii. It)- J2) it was Aaron that threw the 
rod, and he threw it before the magicians. Aaron’s rod became a serpent. Then the 
magicians threw their rods, and they became serpents, but Aaron's rod swallowed up their 
rods. The story given to us is more dramatic and less literal. We are told in general terms 
Thai Moses fit si allowed the magic-men to play their trieks. h was a simple shepherd’s 
crook with which he used to feed his flocks. With Allah's grace behind him, he was able 
to expose ail false trickery and establish die 'truth. 

1GSL The proud ones of the Court-Pharaoh and his chiefs-were hard-hearted, and 
the exposure of the imposture only made them wreak their rage on those whom they 
could reach. On the other hand the effect on the humbler ones- those who had been made 
the dupes and instruments of the imposture- was quite different. Their conscience was 
awakened. They fell down to the ground in adoration of the Lord of the Worlds, and 
confessed their faith. 

- 435 - 

“The Lord of Moses and Aaron/’ 

Said Pharaoh: “Believe ye 
In Him before 1 give 
You permission 7 Surely 
This is a trick which ye 
1 lave planned in the City 
To drive out its people: 

But soon shall ye know 
(The consequences)/ 1082 

124. “Be sure l will cut off 
Your hands and your feel 
On opposite sides, and l 
Will crucify you all/ 1 

125, They said: “For us, 

We arc but sent back 
Unto our Lord/* 

“But thou dost wreak 
Thy vengeance on us 
Simply because we believed 
In the Signs of our Lord 
When they reached us! 

Our Lord! pour out on us 
Patience and constancy, and take 
Our souls unto Thee 

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1082. Pharaoh and his Court were doubly angry: first because they were made to 
took small when confronted by the power of Allah, and secondly, because their dupes 
and instruments were snatched away from them. These men, the sorcerers* at once 
recognised tire Sings of Allah, and in their case the mission of Moses, and Aaron was 
fulfilled. They turned back on their past life of false worship, and oppression of the weak, 
and confessed the One true God. As usually happens, hardened sinners resent all the 
more the saving of any of their companions from sin and error. Judging other people's 
motives by their own, they accuse them of duplicity, and if they have the power, they 
take cruel revenge. Here the Pharaoh threatens the repentant sinners with the extreme 
punishment for treason and apostasy (cutting off of hands and feet, combined with an 
ignominious death on the cross, as in the case of the worst malefactors). But they 
remained firm, and prayed to Allah for patience and constancy. Probably their influence 
spread quietly in the commonalty. Ultimately it appeared on the Throne itself, in the 
person of Amcnophis IV about five or six generations afterwards. 

- 436 - 

As Muslims (who how 
To Thy Wilt)! 1 ® 0 ” 


Said the chiefs oi Pharaoh's 
People: “Will tin hi leave 
Moses and his people, 

To spread mischief in the land 
And 10 abandon thee 
And thy gods?" tie said 
“Their male children will we 
Slay; (only) their females 
Will we save alive; 

And we have over them 
(Power) irresistible , " um 

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Said Moses to his people: 
“Pray for help from Allah 

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11183. These Egyptians, by their patience and constancy, show that their repentance 
was mic. Thus in their case the mission of Moses was fulfilled directly, and their number 
must have amounted to a considerable figure. They were martyrs to theif faith, and their 
martyrdom affected iheir nation in two ways. In the first place, as they were the pick 
o! those who practised magic in Egypt, their conversion and disappearance dealt a 
staggering blow to the whole system. Secondly, the indirect effect of their martyrdom on 
the commonalty of Egypt must have been far greater than can be measured by numbers. 
The banner of Allah was planted, and the silent spiritual fight must have gone on ever 
since, though history, in recording outward events, is silent on the slow and gradual 
processes of transformation undergone by Egyptian religion. From a chaotic pantheon of 
animals and animal gods, the worship of the sun and the heavenly bodies, and the worship 
of the Pharaoh as the embodiment of power, they gradually came to realise the oneness 
and mercy of the true God. After many glimpses of Monotheism on Egyptian soil itself, 
the Gospel of Jesus reached them, amt eventually Islam. 

1084. Pharaoh's order against the sorcerers was drastic enough. But his Council is 
not satisfied. What about Moses and the Israelites? They had a seeming victory, and will 
now be more mischievous than ever. They appeal to Pharaoh's vanity and his superstition 
and sense of power. If you leave them alone." they say, "where will be you: authority? 
You and your gods will he defied!" Pharaoh has a ready answer, lie was really inwardly 
cowed by the apparent power of Moses, lie dared not openly act against him, But he 
had already, before the birth of Moses, passed a cunning order to destroy the whole 
people of Israel. Through the instrumentality of midwives (Exod. i. 15) all the male 
children were to be destroyed, and the females would then be for the Egyptians: the race 
of Israel would thus be at an end. Tins order was still in force, and would remain in 
force until the despised race was absorbed. But Egyptian cunning and wickedness had no 
power against Allah's Plan for those who had faith. See verse 129 below. 

S.7 A. 126-128 


LJl t'JLl 

- 437 * 

7 A. 128-131 


Jd\ *>L| 

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And (wait) in patience and 


For the earth is Allah's, 

To give as a heritage 
To such of \ lis servants 
As He pleaseth: and the end 
is (best) for the righteous, l0fi5 

129. They said: “We have had 
(Nothing hut) trouble, both before 
And after thou earnest lim 

To us." He said: 

“It may be that your Lord 
Will destroy your enemy 
And make you inheritors 311 * 
in the earth; that so 
He may see how ye act,” 


130. We punished the people 
Of Pharaoh with years 
{Of drought) and shortness 
Of crops; that they might 
Receive admonition. 

131. lint when good (times) came. 

They said, “This is due 

To us;” when gripped 
By calamity, they ascribed it 

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1085. Notice the contrast between the arrogant tone of Pharaoh and the humility and 
faith taught by Moses, In I he end the arrogance was humbled, and humility and faith 
were protected and advanced, 

HlKft. Tlicre is a slight note of querulousness in the people’s answer. But Moses allays 
it by his own example and courage, and his vision of the future: which was amply fulfilled 
in time. See verse 137 below. 

1087, The Israelites, despised and enslaved, were to he rescued and made rulers in 
Palestine, David and Solomon were great kings and played a notable part in history. But 
the greatness of Israel was conditional: they were m lie judged hy their deeds. When they 
fell from grace, other people were given honour and power. And so it came to be the 
turn of the Muslims, and so on. Allah gives Mis gifts to those who are righteous and 
obey His Law. 

- 438 * 

S.7 A. 131-134 

J. l J ^UU^Ll 

To evil omens connected 
With Moses and those with him! 
Behold! in truth the omens 
Of evil are theirs 1088 
In Allah's sight, but most 
Of them do not understand! 

132. They said (to Moses): 

Whatever he the Signs 
Thou bringest, to work 
'['here with thy sorcery on us, l(W9 
We shall never believe 
In thee’ 1 

133* So We sent on them: 

Wholesale Death, 1 ™ 1 
Locusts, Lice, Frogs, 

And Wood: Signs openly 1 ™ 1 
Self-explained: but they 
Were steeped in arrogance, 

A people given to sin. 

134. And when the Plague 
Fell on them, they said: 
l4 Q Moses! on our behalf 
Call on thy Lord in virtue 

$ ^y 

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IIIH8. Their superstition ascribed the punishment of their own wickedness to some evil 
omen. They thought Moses and his people brought them ill-luck* They did not look 
within themselves to see the root of evil, and the cause of their punishment! So it happens in 
all ages. People blame the righteous for something which they do, different from other 
men, instead of searching out their own lapses from rectitude, which are punished by 

1089. A type of obstinacy and resistance to Allah's message. As they believed in 
sorcery and magic, they thought anything unusual was but sorcery and magic, and 
hardened their hearts against Tnuh- 

1090. Tiifan a widespread calamity, causing wholesale death and destruction. \i 
may he a flood, or a typhoon, or an epidemic, among men or cattle. Perhaps the last 
is meant, if we may interpret by the Old ‘testament story. Sec also Exod. ix. 3, 9, 15: 
xii . 29. 

1091. In xviL 10L the reference is to nine Clear Signs. These are: (1) the Rod (vii. 
HI?), (2) the Radiant I land (vii. 108), (3) the years of drought or shortage of water (vii. 
130), (4) short crops (vii. 130), and the live mentioned in this verse, viz., (5) epidemics 
among men and beasts, (6) locusts, (7) lice, (K) frogs, and (9) the water turning to blood. 

- 439 - 

r A, 134- 136 



V wil j& Sjj— * 

Of liis promise to thee: 

If thou wilt remove 
The Plague from us* 

We slutll truly believe in thee. 
And we shall send away 
The Children of Israel 
With thcc.""” * 2 

135. But when We removed 
The Plague from them 
According to a fixed term 
Which they had to fulfil,- 1 ’”-' 
Behold! thev broke their word! 

136. So We exacted retribution 

From them; We drowned them” 
In the sea, because they 
Rejected Our Signs, and failed 
To take warning from them. 11 ^ 

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fey J 

1092. The demand of Moses was iwo-fold: (1) come |o Allah and cease from 
oppression, and (2) let me take Israel out of Egypt, At first ii was laughed at and rejected 
with scorn. When the Plagues came for punishment, each time the Egyptians suffered, 
they promised amendment and begged Moses to intercede and cause the plague to cease. 
But every lime it ceased, they went hack to their evil attitude, until the final retribution 
came. This is a type of the sinner's attitude for all times. 

I (193, The intercession of Moses was to pray. Each plague nr penalty had its 
appointed term in Allah's decree. That term was duly fulfilled before the plague ceased. 
The intercession meant two things: (I) that Allah's name was invoked and llis presence 
duly brought home to the mind and heart of the sinner who promised repentance, and 

(2) that the sinner was given a further chance when the prayer was accepted. This again 
is a universal truth. 

HW4. When at last Pharaoh let Israel go, they selected, not the highway to Canaan, 
along the Mediterranean and by Gaza, because they were unarmed and would have 
encountered immediate opposition there, but by way of the wilderness of Sinai. They 
crossed the Red Sea, while Pharaoh's host which came in pursuit was drowned. Cj. ii. 50. 

1095. Where was the Council of Pharaoh held in which Moses addressed Pharoah? 
Egypt's primary capital in the XVI Nth Dynasty was Thebes ( = Not -Ammon), but that was 
more than 400 miles to the south of the Delta, in whose corner Israel dwelt. Memphis, 
on the apex of the Delta, a little south of where Cairo is now, was also over 100 miles 
from Israel’s habitations. The interview must have been either in a Palace near Goshen, 
where the Israelites dwelt, or in Zoan (— Tanis), the Deltaic capital built by a former 
dynasty, which was of course still available for the reigning dynasty, and which was not 
far from the Israelite settement. 

- 440 - 

S.7 A.137-13H 

J.9 £-Ul *jJL| 


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137, And We made a people. 
Considered weak (and of no 


Inheritors of lands 
In both East and West,- 
Lands whereon We sent 
Down Out blessings. 

The lair promise of thy Lord 
Was fulfilled for the Children 
Of Israel, because they had 
Patience and constancy, 

And We levelled to the ground 
The great Works and fine Buildings 
Which Pharaoh and his people 
Erected (with such pride ). um 

138. We took the Children of Israel 
(With safety) across the sea. 

They came upon a people 
Devoted entirely to some idols 
They had. They said: 

"O Moses! fashion for us 


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10%. Israel, which was despised, became a great and glorious naiion under Solomon. 
He had goodly territory, and was doubly blest. 1 (is land and people were prosperous, 
and he was blessed with wisdom from Allah. His sway and his fame spread east and west. 
And thus Allah's promise to Israel was fulfilled. Note that Syria and Palestine had once 
been under the sway of Egypt. At Hie same time the proud and rebellious Pharaoh and 
his people were brought low. The splendid monuments which they had erected with so 
much skill and pride were mingled with the dust. Their great dlics-Thebes (or No- 
Ammon), Memphis (or Noph. sacred to the Bull of Osiris), and the other splendid cities, 
became as if they had not existed, and archaeologists have had to dig up their ruins from 
the sands. The splendid moiuimenis-temples, palaces, tombs, statues, columns, ami stately 
structures of all kinds-were buried in the sands. Even monuments like the Great Sphinx, 
which seem to defy the ages, were partly buried in the sands, and owe their rescue to 
the comparatively recent researches of archaeologists. As late as 1743 Richard Pocoeke 
in his Travels in Egypt (p 41), remarked: "Most of those pyramids are very much 

UHT7, Who were these people? We are now in she Sinai Peninsula. Two conjectures 
are possible. (1) The Amale kites of the Sinai Peninsula were at perpetual war with the 
Israelites. They were probably an idolatrous nation, hut we have very little knowledge 
of their cull. (2) From Egyptian history we know that Egypt had worked from very 
ancient times some copper mines in Sinai, An Egyptian settlement may have been here. 
Like all mining camps it contained from the beginning the dregs of the population. When 
the mines ceased to be worked, the settlement, or what remained of it, must have 

v* AA 

- 441 - 

S.7 A. 138-14 1 

19 £-Ul .jflLl 

A god like unto the gods 
They have*” He said: 

* "Surely ye are a people 
Without knowledge! 

139. ‘"As to these folk,- 
The cult they are in 

h bound to destruction . 1,1 m 
And vain is the (worship) 

Which they practise/' 

140. He said: "‘Shall I seek for you 
A god other than 

Allah, when it is He 

Who hath endowed you 

With gilts above the nations?” 

141. And remember We rescued you 
From Pharaoh’s people, 

Who afflicted you with 
The worst of punishment 
Who slew your male children 
And saved alive your females: 
hi that was a momentous 
Trial from vour Lord. 11 ^ 

jAj i-jjl JU 


degenerated further. Cut tiff from civilisation, its cult must have become still narrower, 
without the refining influences which a progressive nation applies even to its idolatry. 
Perhaps Apis, the sacred bull of Memphis, lost all its allegorical meaning for them, and 
only gross and superstitious rites remained among them. The text speaks of "some idols 
they hud ," implying that they had merely a detached fragment of a completer religion. 
This was a snare in the path of the Israeli I es. whom many generations of slavery in Egypt 
had debased into ignorance and superstition, 

1098. If conjecture 2 in the last note is correct, this idolatrous worship was but the 
fragment of a ruin from Egypt, and Moses's reproach ts biting: "You, who have been 
rescued from the bondage of living Egypt, -do you hanker after the bondage of a dead 
cult debased even from that from which you have been rescued?” 

Mutabbar = broken in pieces, smashed into fragments, destroyed, 

1099, This is Allah's reminder to Israel through the mouth of Moses. There was a 
double trial: (1) while the bondage lasted, the people were to learn patience and 
constancy in the midst of affliction: (2) when they were rescued, they were to learn 
humility; justice, and righteous deeds of prosperity. 

t-jfr. r * » l/t ' S'fj t, . iJfI * 3 i y’T. T y"? Yyu. Jy'i Vy 

* 442 * 

S.7 A. 142*143 


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142, We appointed for Moses 
Thirty nights, and completed 
(The period) with ten (more): 
Thus was completed the term 
With his Lord'"*' 

Forty nights. And Moses 
Had charged his brother Aaron 
(Before he went up): 

"Act for me amongst my people: 
Do right, and fid low not 
The way of those 
Who do mischief." 1101 

143. When Moses came 

To the place appointed by Us, 
And his Lord addressed him. 

He said: "O my Lord! 

Show (Thyself) to me T 
That I may look upon Thee.'* 1 
Allah said: **By no means 
Canst thou see Me (direct); 


1 1 1 1 1 «li\j 1? J St 1 

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1100. I he forty nights' exclusion of Moses on the Mount may he compared with the 
forty days fast of Jesus in the wilderness before he took up his ministry (Matt. iv. 2). 
In each case the Prophets lived alone apart from their people, before they came into the 
full blaze of the events of their Ministry. 

1101. When for any reason the man of God is absent from his people, his duly of 
leadership ikhilufail should be taken up h\ his brother,-not necessarily a blood-brat her, 
but one of his society or brotherhood- The deputy should discharge it in all humility, 
remembering three things; (1) that he is only a deputy, and bound to follow the directions 
of his Principal. (2) that right and justice are of the essence of power, and (3) that 
mischief gets its best chance to raise its head in the absence of the Principal, and that 
the deputy should always guard against the traps laid for him in the Principal's absence. 

1102. Even the best of us may be betrayed into overweening confidence of spiritual 
ambition not yet justified by the stage we have reached. Moses had already seen part 
of the glory of Allah in his Radiant White Hand, that shone with the glory of Divine 
light (vii. 108. n. 1076). But he was still in the flesh, and the mission to his people was 
to begin after the Covenant of Sinai. 


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- 443 - 

S.7 A. 143- 144 J. 9 ^-Ldl *}A-I V oljAfl ijj- 

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But look upon the mount; 

If it u bide 
In its place, then 
Shalt thou sec Mc, T,1i(l ' 

When his Lord manifested 
Himself to the Mount, 

He made it as dust. 

And Moses fell down 
In a swoon. When he 
Recovered his senses he said: 
“Glory be to Thee! To Thee 
1 turn in repentance, and I 
Am the first to believe /' im 

(Allah) said: “O Moses! 

I have chosen thee 
Above (other) men, 11 ' 3 '' 

By the messages 1 (have 
Given thee) and the words 
1 (have spoken to thee); 

Take then Ihe (revelation) 
Which I give thee, 

And be of those 
Who give thanks." 11 * 16 


^ > 

Lii ' ff U . / Ji j li 


1103. But Allah-the Cherisher of all Mis creatures-t reals even our improper requests 
with mercy, compassion, and understanding. Even the reflected glory of Allah is too great 
for the grosser substance of matter. The peak on which it shone became as powder before 
the ineffable glory, and Moses could only live by being taken out of his bodily senses. 
When he recovered from his swoon, he saw the true position, and the distance between 
our grosser bodily senses and the true splendour of Allah’s glory. He at once turned in 
penitence to Allah, and confessed his laith. 

! 104. "First to believe/’ Cf. the expression "first of those who how to Allah in Islam * 
in vi. 14 and vi. 163. "First" means here not the first in time, but most zealous in faith. 
It has the intensive and not the comparative meaning, 

1 1 05, 'Vl/>e>v£ (other) men'/ i.e. among his contemporaries. He had a high mission, 
and he had the honour of speaking to Allah. 

! 1 06 . Allah's revelation ts for the benefit of His creatures, who should receive it with 
reverence and gratitude. While Moses was having these great spiritual experiences on the 
Mount, his people below were ungrateful enough to forget Allah and make a golden calf 
for worship (vii. 147). 











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- 444 - 

S.7 A, 145-146 

J. 9 A~.tJl.d-l 

145. And We ordained 

For Kim in the Tablets 
In all matters, Admonition 
And explanation of 
All things, (and said): 

“Take and hold these 
With firmness, and enjoin 
Thy people to hold fast 
By the best in the precepts: 11 " 7 
Soon shall I show you 1108 
The homes of the wicked - 
(How they lie desolate)." 


146. Those who behave arrogantly 
On the earth in defiance 
Of right -them will I 
Turn away from My Signs: 1110 
Even if they see all the Signs. 
They will not believe in them: 
And if they see the way 
Of right conduct, they will 

ayLiUs Jooi 


3107. The Tablets of the Law contained the essential Truth, from which were derived 
the positive injunctions and prohibitions, explanations and interpretations, which it was 
the function of the prophetic office to hold up for the people to follow. The precepts 
would contain, as she Shari at does, matters absolutely prohibited, matters not prohibited 
hut disapproved, matters about which there was no prohibition or injunction, but in which 
conduct was to he regulated by circumstances: matters of positive and universal duty, 
matters recommended for those whose zeal was sufficient to enable them to work on 
higher than minimum standards. No soul is burdened beyond its capacity; hut we are 
asked to seek the best and highest possible for us in conduct. 

! 10H. Notice the transition from the “We" of authority and honour and impersonal 
dignity, to lire "1" of personal concern in specially guiding the righteous. 

1109. Literally, the homes of the wicked, both individuals and nations, lie desolate, 
as in the case of the ancient Egyptians, ihe ‘Ad., and the Th amud. 

1 3 111. The argument may he simplified thus in paraphrase. The right is established 
on the earth as Allah created it: Nature recognises and obeys Allah’s law as fixed for 
each portion of Creation. But man, because of the gift of Will, sometimes upsels this 
balance The root -cause is his arrogance, as it was in the case of Ihlis. Allah’s Signs are 
everywhere, hut if they are rejected with scorn and blasphemy, Allah will withdraw 11 is 
grace, for sin hardens the heart and makes it impervious to the truth. Want of faith 
produces a kind of blindness to spiritual facts, a kind of deafness to the warnings of a 
Day of Account, If we had contumaciously rejected faith, can we hope for anything hut 
jusliee,-the just punishment of our sins. 


- 445 - 

V ol 

Not adopt it as the Way; 

But if they see the way 

Of error, that is 

The Way they will adopt* 

For they have rejected 111 1 
Our Signs, and failed 
To take warning from them* 

147. Those who reject Our Signs 
And the Meeting in the Hereafter,- 
Vain are their deeds: 

Can they expect to be rewarded 
Except ns they have wrought? 


148. The people of Moses made, 
fn his absence, out of their 


The body of a calf, (for worship): 



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nil. Rejected Our Signs: again a return to the Plural Of impersonal Dignity and 
Authority, from the singular of personal concern in granting grace and guidance to the 

1112* the making of the golden calf and its worship hy the Israelites during the 
absence of Moses on the Mount were referred to in ii. 51, and some further details are 
given in xx. 85-97. Notice how in each case only those points are referred to which are 
necessary' to the argument in hand. A narrator whose object is mere narration, tells the 
story in all its details* and is done with it. A consummate artist, whose object is to enforce 
lessons, brings out each point in its proper place* Master of all details* he does not 
ramble, but with supreme literary skill, just adds the touch that is necessary in each place 
to complete the spiritual picture. His object is not a story but a lesson. Here notice the 
contrast between the intense spiritual communion of Moses on the Mount and the 
simultaneous corruption of his people in his absence. We can understand his righteous 
indignation and bitter grief (vii. 150), The people had melted all their gold ornaments, 
and made the image of a calf like the hull of Osiris in the city of Memphis in the wicked 
Egypt that they had turned their backs upon, 

1113. Image of a Calf. Jasad is literally a body, especially the body til a man 
according to Khalil quoted by Ragib. In xxL 8, it is used obviously fur the human body, 
as also in xxxvtii, 34; but in the Tatter case, the idea of an image* without any real life 
or soul, is also suggested. In the present passage 1 understand many suggestions: (1) that 
it was a mere image, without life: (2) as such, ii could not low* therefore the appearance 
of lowing, mentioned immediately afterwards* was a fraud: (3) unlike ils prototype, the 
bull of Osiris, it had not even the symbolism of Osiris behind it; the Osiris myth, in the 
living religion of Egypt, had at least some ethical principles behind it. 

- 446 - 

S.7 A. 148-150 

J. 0 *jJL| 

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Having lowing sound did they 
Not sec that it could 
Neither speak to them, nor 
Show them the Way? 

They took h for worship 
And they did wrong, 

149. When they repented, and saw 
That they had erred. 

They said: “If our Lord 
Have not mercy upon us 
And forgive us, we shall 
Indeed he among the Losers. 

150. When Moses came back 

To his people, angry and grieved. 
He said: "Evil it is that ye 
Have done in my place 
In my absence: did ye 1 
Make haste to bring on 
The judgment of your Lord?" 

He put down the Tablets, 1116 
Seized his brother by {the hair 


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1114. I Tc lowing of the golden calf was obviously a deception practised by I he 
promoters of the cull, Lytton in h is "Last Days of Pompeii 11 exposes the deception 
practised by the priests of Isis. Men hidden behind images imposed on the credulity of 
the commonalty, 

1115. Did ye make haste..,? in your impatience, could you not wait for me? Your 
lapse into idolatry has only hastened Allah’s wrath. If you had only waited, 1 was bringing 
to you in the Tablets the most excellent teaching in the commands of Allah/ There is 
subtle irony in the speech of Moses, There is also a play upon words: ij! = calf: and 
'ajila = to make haste: no translation can bring out these niceties. 

1116. i*ui dm i7! the Tablets; we are not told that the Tablets were broken: in fact 
vii. 154 (below) shows that they were whole. They contained Allah’s Message. There is 
a touch of disrespect (if not blasphemy) in supposing that Allah's Messenger broke the 
Tablets in his incontinent rage, as is stated in the Old Testament: "Moses’s anger waxed 
hoi, and he east the tablets out of his hands, and brake them beneath the Mount," (Lxod. 
xxxii. 10), On this point and also on the point that Aaron (in the Old Testament story) 
ordered the gold to be brought, made a molten calf, fashioned it with a graving tool, 
and built an altar before the calf (l-xd. xxxii. 2-5), our version differs from that of the 
Old Testament. We cannot believe that Aaron, who was appointed by Allah to assist 
Moses as Allah’s Messenger, could descend so low as to seduce the people into idolatry, 
whatever his human weaknesses might be. 

1 % 

- 447 - 

S. 7 A. 150-152 J. 9 Yol 

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Of) his head, and dragged him 
To him. Aaron said: 

“Son of my mother! The people 
Did indeed reckon me 
As naught, and went near 
To slaying me! Make not 
The enemies rejoice over 
My misfortune, nor count thou 
Me amongst tiie people 
Of sin." 111 * 

151. Moses prayed: “G my Lord! 
Forgive me and my brother! 1119 
Admit us to Thy mercy! 

For Thou art the Most Merciful 
Of those who show mercy!” 


152. Those who took the calf 
(For worship) will indeed 
Be overwhelmed with wrath 
From their Lord and with 
Shame in this life; 11211 


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1117. Moses was but human. Remembering the charge lie had given to Aaron (vii. 
142) he had a just grievance at the turn events had taken. But he did not wreak his 
vengeance on the Tablets of Allah's law by breaking them. He laid hands on his brother, 
and his brother at once explained. 

1118. Aaron’s speech is full of tenderness and regret. He addresses Moses as “son 
of my mother. ”-an affectionate term. He explains how the turbulent people nearly killed 
him for resisting them. And he states in the clearest terms that the idolatry neither 
originated with him nor had his consent. In xx, 85, wc arc told that a fellow described 
as the Samir! had led them astray. We shall discuss this when we come to that passage. 

1119. As Moses was convinced that his brother was guiltless, his wrath was turned 
to gentleness. He prayed for forgive ness-for himself and his brohter: for himself because 
of his wrath and for his brother because he had been unable to suppress idolatry among 
his people. And like a true leader that he is, he identifies himself with his lieutenant for 
all that has happened* Even more, he identifies himself with his whole people in his 
prayer in verse 155 below. Herein, again, is a type of what the Holy Prophet Muhammad 
did for his people. 

1120. The consequences were twofold: (1) spiritual, in that Allah's grace is 
withdrawn, and (2) even in the present life of this world, in that godly men also shun 
the sinner’s company, and he is isolated. 




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- 448 - 

S.7 A, 152-155 

But those who do wrong 
But repent thereafter and 
(Truly) believe, -verily 
Thy Lord is thereafter 
Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. 

When the anger of Moses 
Was appeased, he took up 
The Tablets: in the writing 
Thereon was Guidance and Mercy 
For such as fear their Lord. 

And Moses chose seventy 1121 
Of his people for Our place 
Of meeting: when they 
Were seized with violent quaking, l32: 
He prayed: “O my Lord! 

[f it had been Thy Will 
Thou couldst have destroyed, 

Long before, both them 
And me: wouldst Thou 
Destroy us for the deeds 
Of the foolish ones among us? 

This is no more than 111 ' 

Thy trial: by it Thou causcst 

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1121. Seventy of the elders were taken up to the Mount, but left at some distance 
from the place where Allah spoke to Moses. They were to lie silent witnesses, hut their 
faith was not yet complete, and they dared to say to Moses: "We shall never believe 
in thee until we see Allah in public” (ii.55). They were dazed with thunder and lightning, 
and might have been destroyed but for Allah's mercy on the intercession of Moses. 

1122. Raj fat: violent quaking, earthquake, I take it to refer lo the same event as is 
described by the word Sd'iqat in ii, 55, the thunder and lightning that shook the mountain- 

1123. Moses was guiltless, but he identifies himself with his whole people, and 
intercedes with Allah on their behalf. He recognises that it was a trial, in which some 
of his people failed to stand the test. Such failure was worthy of punishment. But he 
pleads for mercy for such as erred from weakness and not from contumacy, and were 
truly repentant, although all who erred were in their several degrees worthy of 

-449 - 

S.7 A. 155-157 

J. 9 

Whom Thou will stray 4 
And Thou Icadcst whom 
Thou wilt into the right path. 
Thou uri our Protector: 

So forgive us and give us 
Thy mercy; for Thou art 
The Best of those who forgive. 

156. "And ordain for us 
That which is good. 

In this life 

And in the 1 lercaftcr: 

For we have turned unto Thee/' 

1 ic said: l l afflict My Punishment 
On whom 1 will; 

But My Mercy extendeth 1125 
To all tilings. That (Mercy) 

I shall ordain for those 
Who do right, and pay 
Zakat and those 
Who believe in Our Signs;- 112 * 

157. "Those who follow the Messenger, 
The unlettered Prophet, 

Whom they find mentioned 
In their own (Scriptures)*- 1127 

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zAjk a ^ \j -U^ IjJ \ 

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Aljj p ^ fV- 1 ^ wIlIjC; *A^ 

1124. Cf. ii. 26. 

1125. Allah *s mercy is in and for all things. All nature subserves a common purpose, 
which is for the good of all His creatures. Our faculties and our understandings are all 
instances of His grace and mercy. Each unit or factor among his creatures benefits from 
the others and receives them as Allah's mercy to itself: and in its turn, each contributes 
to the benefit of the others and is thus an instance of Allah's mercy to them. His mercy 
is universal and all-pervasive; white His justice and punishment are reserved for those who 
swerve from lbs plan and (to use a mediaeval juridieial formula) go out of His Peace. 

1126. The personal grace and mercy-and their opposite-are referred to the singular 
pronoun '*1" while the impersonal Law, by which Allah's Signs operate in His universe* 
is referred to the plural pronoun of authority and dignity, "We". 

1127. In this verse is a pre-ftguring, to Moses, of the Arabian Messenger* the last 
and greatest of the messengers of Allah. Prophecies about him will he found in the Taurat 
and the Injll. tn the reflex of the Taurat as now accepted by the Jews* Moses says: "The 
Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee* of thy brethren* = 



In the Taurat and the Gospel 
For he commands them 
What is just and Forbids them 
What is evil; he allows 
Them as lawful what is good 
(And pure) and prohibits them 
From what is bud {and impure) 
He releases them 
From their heavy burdens 
And from the yokes 112 * 

That arc upon them. 

So it is those who believe 
In him, honour him. 

Help him, and follow the Light 
Which is sent down with him 
It is they who will prosper, 

1 12 <> 

■ 11JH 


158* Say: **0 men! I am sent 11 51 

Until you all, as the Messenger 

* * I 1 



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^ > % :*;t** S' A j 

like unto me" (Dent, xviii. 15): (he only Prophet who brought a 5/rarj*tff like lhat of 
Moses w;is Muhammad Al- Mustafa, and he came of the house of Isma'Il the brother of 
Isaac the father of Israel. In the reflex of the Gospel as now accepted by the Christians, 
Christ promised another Comforter (John xiv. 16): the Greek word Paraclete which the 
Christians interpret as referring to the Holy Spirit is by our Doctors taken to be Pcriclyte, 
which would be the Greek form of Ahmad. Sec O. IxL 6. 

I12X. Agtul: plural of guUun t a yoke* an iron collar, tn the formalism and 
exclusiveness of the Jews there were many restrictions which were removed by Islam, a 
religion of freedom in Ihe faith of Allah, of universality in the variety of races* languages, 
manners and customs. 

1129. Light which is sent down with him; the words are “with him'\ not “to him”, 
emphasizing the fact that the Light w r hich he brought illumines every one who has the 
privilege of joining his great and universal Fellowship. 

1 130* Falah = prosperity in its general sense as well as in its spiritual sense, fn the 
general sense it means that right conduct is the only door to happiness and well-being, 
in the spiritual sense it means that Faith and its fruits (right conduct) are the only gates 
to salvation. 

1131. Our attention having been directed to various prophets* who w r ere sent w-ith 
missions to their several peoples* and in each of whose careers there is some pre- 
figure mem of the life of the last and greatest of them, we are now asked to listen lo 
the proclamation of Muhammad’s universal mission. We contemplate no longer, after this. 

* 45 ! - 

SJ A* 158-160 



Of Allah, to Whom belongcth 
The dominion of the heavens 
And the earth: there is no god 
But He: it is He that giveth 
Both life and death. So believe 
In Allah and Mis Messenger, 

The unlettered Prophet* 1 1,12 
Who believeth in Allah 
And 1 hs Words: follow him 
Thai (so) ye may be guided.'* 

159. Of the people of Moses 
There is a section 
Who guide and do justice 
In the light of truth* 

160* We divided them into twelve 


Or nations. We directed 
Moses by insp